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  CSPAN    Capitol Hill Hearings    News/Business.  

    July 11, 2013
    8:00 - 1:01am EDT  

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>> thank you. >> harry reid and mitch change todebated a senate rules for filibusters. senator reid he said he may take its option because prevented president obama from picking the people he wanted. senator mcconnell said the filibuster change would be unprecedented. this is next on c-span. the house passed a revised farm bill today about food stamp and nutrition spending. , a look at the military and political situation in afghanistan. the new senior root -- congressional porter from
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political joining us. the meeting? of >> it sounds like harry reid is ready to go forward with the nuclear option, to change the senate rules by 51 votes, rather than the normal threshold of 67 votes. the higher threshold is usually your -- usually set to make it harder to occur. he says he is so frustrated with the use of the majority party to block legislation moving forward that he will invoke this very unusual procedure to change the rules by 51 votes. we want to vote -- change the filibuster rules so no longer 60 votes will be required to facinge a filibuster presidential nominees for
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executive branch positions. would only affect executive , noth decisions traditional nominees, not legislation, it wants to move forward so that no longer can a senator block a nominee for epa, defense department, by requiring , 61 votesinstead would be required, a majority of the senate. >> majority lent -- leader reid wants to move forward, what would the next step the in the senate? >> there was going to be a joint meeting on monday evening. just off the senate floor. , rarely doy rare both parties meet in one setting and they will talk about their use of whether or not the senate should go forward.
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that seems to meet to be a dog and pony show. then, you will change it moving forward. ,f he gives mitch mcconnell essentially caves to the divan -- the demands and give them a state of pending nominees, allows them to be confirmed to to further weaken the filibuster rules. >> senate democrats have been toying with the idea for changing the filibuster rules for the last year or so. what is the impetus for this latest effort? >> the impetus is there are several nominees who are stopped, who harry reid has tried to get confirmed. richard, the national labor relations board of nominees who allowed the agency to continue
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to function, as well as a couple other nominees waiting action. ,he labor department secretary the head of the environmental protection agency. the labor and epa, it sounds like mcconnell would allow those he movesgo forward forward with the nomination, as well as the picks during the debate about whether the senate was actually in recess and the president was allowed to circumvent the senate. it was a large fight pending in this supreme court regarding those nominees. those nominees now are before the senate and reid wants to confirm them by an up or down
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vote and mcconnell is saying he will not allow that. -- mitchntioned mix mcconnell. what are republicans saying about what senator reid is planning to do? >> serious. mcconnell said, if we go forward with this, it would be the worst majority leader ever. those are very strong words, especially the usual do koran senate floor where you do not get very personal. this is a very personal exchange. if we invoke the nuclear option and decide he can change the rules, majority leaders will do the exact same thing. they will not hold back. they will continue to weaken the filibuster, what used by the minority party to protect against the agenda, and they will continue to weaken the filibuster -- to the point it may no longer exist. if that happens, the senate will be just like the house. when the house passes legislation that will.
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if that happens, it could have major impact on future presidents. a huge impact on the country, and the republicans speaking in very dire terms. >> a senior congressional reporter for politico, thank you. senate leaders harry reid and mitch mcconnell debating changes to the senate rules on the filibuster. reid says there would be procedural test votes tuesday and a number of white house nominees said it would be republicans.nate this would be 30 minutes.
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all those in favor? all those opposed say no. they ayes have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. >> in accordance with of provisions of rule 22 wehrheim move to bring to a close the debate on nomination of richard cordray of ohio to be director, bureau of consumer financial protection, but 18 senators us followed. >> i asked that we not read the names. >> without objection. >> i now move to proceed to legislative session. >> the question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor? all those opposed say no. the ayes do have it. >> the motion is agreed to. the question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no.
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they ayes have it. the clerk will report the nomination>>ichard f. griffin je district of columbia to be a member. >> the clerk will report the cloture motion. >> in accordance with provisions of rule 22 is about to to bring to a close the nomination of richard f. griffin jr. of the district of columbia to be a member of the national labor relations board signed by 17 senators as follows. >> i move to proceed to a legislative session. >> all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no. the ayes have it. the motion is agreed to. >> the question is on the motion to proceed. all those opposed say no.
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the ayes have it. the motion is agreed to. >> nomination, sharon block of the district of columbia, to be a member. >> i have a cloture motion at the desk. >> we are by move to bring to a close the debate on the nomination of sharon block of the district of columbia to be a member of the national labor relations board, by 17 senators as follows. >> without objection. >> i now move to proceed to
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legislative session. >> questions on the motion? all those in favor, say aye. all those opposed say no. the ayes have it. >> i now move to proceed to executive session. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. >> national labor relations board. >> i have a cloture motion.
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>> the clerk will report the cloture motion. >> we the undersigned senators hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the nomination fort member of the national labor relations board, by 17 senators as follows. >> without objection. >> i ask consent the men and be waived their requests without objection. senators as follows. >> without objection. but sun now move to proceed to the legislative session. >> the question is on the motion to receive. the ayes have it. the motion is agreed to. all those opposed say no. the ayes have it. the clerk will report the nomination. >> there is a cloture motion at the desk. >> we the undersigned centers -- centers move to bring to close the debate on the nomination, by 17 senators as follows. >> without objection. >> i now move to proceed to legislative session. >> the question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor say ayethe ayes do have it.
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the motion is agreed to. >> i moved to proceed to executive session. >> the question is on a motion to proceed. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, say no. the ayes have it. the park will report the nomination. >> department of labor, thomas edward perez of maryland, to be secretary. >> the clerk will report the cloture motion. >> i ask consent that the reading of names be waived. >> without objection. >> i moved to per se to legislative session. -- i move to proceed. >> all those in favor say aye.
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the ayes have it. the motion is agreed to. >> the question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor, say aye. all those opposed, say no. the ayes have it. the motion is agreed to. >> i sent a cloture motion to the desk. >> the clerk will report the cloture motion. >> we hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the nomination of regina mccrary of massachusetts to be administrator of the environmental protection agency, by 17 senators as follows. reid, boxer, murray, udall of in mexico, sanders, white house, gillibrand, and shot. >> without objection. the question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor say aye. the ayes have it. the motion is agreed. republican leader. >> madam president, i have a
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consent that i think would set up these boats in a mucks -- in a much more expeditious way than the way the majority leader is proceeding. first, let me just say these are dark days in the history of the senate. i hate that we have come to this point. we witnessed the majority leader break his word to the united states senate, and now our request for a joint meeting of all the senators has been set for monday night, a time when frequent -- when attendance around here is frequently quite spotty. in our obvious effort to keep as many of his members from hearing the concerns and arguments of the other side as possible. it remains our view that for this to be the kind of joint session of the senate that it ought to be, given the tendency of the senate to have sparse attendance on monday night, to have this meeting on tuesday before it is too late. having said that, a more expeditious way to accomplish most of what the majority leader is trying to accomplish would be achieved by the following.
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i ask unanimous consent that on tuesday, wed 2:15, the senate proceed to consecutive votes on the confirmation of the following nominations.
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no. 102, johnson, to be a member of the nlrb, and number 103 to
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be a member of the nlrb. if those nominees were confirmed, coupled with the two nominees illegally appointed, whose illegal appointments continue to the end of the year, the nlrb would have a full complement of five members and be able to conduct its business. i further ask consent that following those votes, the senate proceed to the cloture motion called on #99, that is pressed to be secretary of labor. the senate immediately proceed to a vote on the confirmation of the nomination. that would eliminate the's 30 hours, assuming cloture were invoked, on a very controversial nominee to be secretary of labor. further, the senate vote on the cloture motion filed on calendar #98, mccarthy, to be epa director, and if cloture is
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invoked, the senate receives a vote on the nomination. also eliminating the 30 hours's cloture if cloture is invoked on mccarthy. i might add that the ranking labor. member of the environment committee supports cloture on the mccarthy nomination. therefore it is reasonable to assume that cloture would be invoked and what is for a lot of my members, including myself, very controversial nomination. i further ask the consent then vote -- that the senate then bowed for someone to be president of the export-import bank. if cloture is in vogue, the senate proceed to an immediate vote on the confirmation of that nomination, again eliminating the 30 hours's cloture. wiley i ask consent that the following votes listed above the senate proceed to cloture votes
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on the remaining three filed cloture motions. before the chair rules, what this shows -- with this allows for the center work officially through a series of nominations in a quicker fashion than the majority leader has proposed. they would get their boats and there would not be a delay. this would only leave discussion and votes on the three remaining illegally, according to the federal court, the three remaining illegally appointed nominations. mr. president, that is my consent. >> mr. president, no matter how often my friend really talks about me not wrecking my word, i am not going to respond talking about how many times he has broken his word. that does not add anything to this debate we are having here. all you have to do is look back at the record today. my members will be here monday night. i don't understand, unless this is part of the overall pattern, what does the company expect around here to not do anything today you can do tomorrow. mr. president, we are going to have a vote at 5:30. >> i am stunned about the ranking member isn't that something to cheer about?
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he is the one that is responsible. that is what is wrong here, mr. president. this is so transparent, what my friend has asked. he has said he wants to approve to republican members. let's have those first and only one democratic nominee. what does this mean?
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that means in a couple of months the republicans have a majority in the nlrb. i don't blame him for wanting that. they don't like the organization anyway. so i understand that they would like to get consent to create a ripple reject republican majority in the rock nlrb, but it is so obvious. i object. we are going to have a caucus
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monday at 6:00 in the senate chamber. i would hope that something this important will have attendance. i know my caucus will be there. if nothing is resolved there, which the way things have been going today, likely will not be. we will have a vote sometime early tuesday morning on these nominees. >> mr. president, the majority leader always reminds me he can have the last word, and i am sure he can have the last word again. speaking for senator vitter, he did ask for a lot of information from the new prospective director of the epa, and so did senator boxer. she asked for 70,000 pages herself, but he was satisfied with the responses he got. this is how the process ought to work. this is how it has worked for decades. you try to get answers to questions. you try to engage in some kind
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of prediction as to how someone might operate in the future. the majority leader has been saying all along that he wants the confirmation process to be speedy and for the minority to sit down and shut up. he believes that advise and consent and sit down and shut up. confirm these nominees when i tell you to. believes that advise and consent means to sit down and shut up. cap from the nominees when i tell you to. the reason he has taken heat over this is because he has broken his word. we had resolved the rules of the congress last january. i know for a fact that even though he may get his 51 votes, many democrats are not happy where you are. when they tell me that, the republican i think they would least want to ~ two, i know what is going on. they have been hammered. this is been personalized by the majority leader. you want to do this for me. what is astonishing is that
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you're going to do this for me because you want to on the break my word. like i said in my own biography a huge years ago, you are going to help me look bad. you're going to help me break my word, violate what i said in my own biography, create unnecessary controversy in the u.s. senate, which is then major bills on a bipartisan basis all year long, this is hard to understand. this is why my members are astonished. they are scratching their heads. who manufactured this crisis? we know who did it very -- we know who did it. the guy on my left. this is a sad day for the u.s. senate. if we did not pull back from the brink, the majority leader will be remembered as the worst winter ever. the leader of the senate who changed the body. it makes me sad. all of my members are angry, i am more sad about it. it is a shame that would've come to this. i hope democratic senators are their member -- are there on
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monday night. if we sat down and try to understand each other, many members on the other side are hearing a different version from the fax. it is a largely -- it is largely unrelated to reality. i note my friend the majority leader will have the last word. the difference between being a majority leader and a minority leader is that he gets the last word. i will yield the floor and listen to the last word. >> mr. president, the majority leader. >> no matter how many times he says that, he tends to not focus on what he hasn't to the senate.
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as i indicated earlier, there is lots of time. we know it is replaying the record how he said that there would be no filibusters, only extra. circumstances -- only extraordinary circumstances. the only person i know who thinks things are going fine here is my friend. the american people know the institution is being hammered hard. he does not have to worry about me rick i have not taken any heat -- i do not -- he does not have to worry about me, i have not taken any heat. we heard from out of my 54 senators, we have heard form -- from either 2425. the attendance was not perfect.
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mr. president, i do not went in to feel sorry for the senate, certainly not for me eric -- for me. i will continue to speak in a tone that is appropriate. i guess it follows a demagogue theory that the more you say something, it is also. mr. president, it is interesting that he thinks that richard cartwright, who no one says there is anything wrong with this man. both parties say he is a good guy. he has been waiting for seven to four days. -- four 724 days. this is the secretary of defense, 292 days. monetary governor, 169 days.
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nlrb, 573 days. the average time winning is nine months. mr. president, as far as reshuffling the votes, he wants to have the majority of this nlrb to the republicans. i do not think that is a good idea. we are going to have a caucus monday. i have tried to had them before, and i found him addicted to them. i'm happy to do that. my friends of the process works. the process works? the status quo is good? i don't think so. >> mr. president, republican leader.
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>> the nlrb is not republicans. i mentioned to the administration on several occasions to send us up two nominees who are not illegally appointed. we cannot seem to get that done. the tank attached to the two nlrb nominees and to mr. cordrey is that they were illegally appointed. the agencies have not been at a disadvantage. they are waiting. he is not waiting to do the job, he is in office. the question is -- do we respect the law? a federal court has said that two nlrb members were illegally appointed. mr. cordrey was appointed on exactly the same day in exactly the same way. is it the senate completely lawless? do we not care what the federal courts say? i am just stunned at what radar. -- at where we are. all of the other nominees are likely to be confirmed. what it comes down to is the majority leader is owing to
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break the rules of the senate to change the rules of the senate in order to confirm the 51 votes, three illegally appointed positions. the federal courts and told us break the rules of the senate to there unconstitutionally appointed. that is the rationale for the option. that is why i say it is a sad day for the senate. also a sad day for america. >> the majority leader. >> illegally appointed. why did president obama recess appoint mr. cordrey and other members? we count cordrey as 571 days. elizabeth warren set up the program.
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they said no chance. these are cadel tears -- you have reason supplements because the president had no choice if he wanted the team to work. he said they would be happy to present them weekly. -- to process them quickly. sorry, mr. president. there is not a chance we will let the nlrb nominate republicans. the law should not be dominated by republicans, and will not be. this could be resolved quickly print i have someone -- this can be resolved quickly. they can all vote against these people, but on procedural basis, they are holding out votes on people who are more qualified. this is strange. talk about marshaling your troops to do something wrong, it is that. if they are so worried about the rules changing, they should
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approve three qualified people. no one suggests there's anything wrong with any of them. there were reported because the republicans forced president obama to do that. there will be note -- there will be no further votes. the next vote is monday at 5:30 p.m.. >> i am trying to avoid laughter. the two nlrb nominees were sent to the senate on december 15, 2011. before the paperwork on here, two weeks later the president recessed appointed them.
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delay? the paperwork had not even arrived. the committee could not do anything with them. a couple of weeks later, they were recess appointed. that is not my definition of a delay. by any objective standards. the court issue is -- he is prepared to break the rules of the senate to change the rules of the senate for three nominees who were unconstitutionally appointed according to the federal circuit court in washington dc. for that, the majority leader proposes to use the nuclear option? it is a sad day and commentary on today's senate. >> the majority leader. >> the senate crated by the republicans -- this role change, he gives talking about a rule change. the constitution is clear there is one paragraph that says that trees take two thirds of a vote.
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in the same paragraph, how many votes does it take to confirm a nomination? majority. that is in the constitution. since 1977, rules of changed 17 times. not my fancy things done by the committee, but in the senate. we have three people who are qualified. if republicans want to avoid a problem, what they want to do is continue. can you imagine the american people are looking at this and saying that they think the senate is going just fine. this goes -- the status quo is good? look at the gallup poll. 80% -- 86% of the american people think the senate is bad is because they are not doing important things. i have been here a while. we have done good things assure. we should be doing lots of good
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things. not focus on immigration, a farm bill, a postal bill. we talk about word. i am glad we got that done. mr. president, that built is a shadow of its former self. -- that bill is a shadow of its former self. all we want is for the president of the united states, democrat or republican, to be documented.
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>> ron johnson also spoke about the filibuster rules. >> i appreciate your opening remarks. also, the distinguished service that the nominees have provided the nation. i appreciate that you're willing to step up the plate and serve again. -- step up to the plate and serve again. i look forward to your testimony. what is being contemplated in the senate requires him it. i want to utilize my opening remarks to talk about what we discussed in our caucuses.
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we are here in the mists of a constitutional part -- crisis. our constitution set the bounds of powers between three branches. checks and balances. never in their wildest dreams did the crafters of our constitution envisioned that a majority -- a minority of the would undermine the function of two branches. they were very deliberate in their determination it not be a when it came to
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es, have aranches,othe de facto branch in the constitution. they are the same paragraph, you can compare them one to the other. they talked about this because they had an experience in which the super majority had caused all sorts of difficulties. to lays, continuous negotiations, and contemptible compromises of the good. why alexander hamilton felt so strongly that should be a simple
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majority standard, he was not a loan. -- alone. thead madison, who wrote principle of free government would be reversed if a supermajority is a functioning system. we have simple majority votes ill advisedgainst nominations by the executive branch. that has been the tradition throughout our nation's history. simple majority votes interspersed by very occasional blockades put up by exercising the will to filibuster. until theuse of that, last few years. , ourd, a few years ago republican colleagues were in charge. they were upset by a small
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number of filibusters by the democrats. they came to this floor and said that is not acceptable and they reminded us of this constitutional framework and they asked for a deal. the deal they asked for was, they would not change the rules and democrats would not filibuster the nominations. and yet, we do not see -- the deal was struck. but now, the tide has turned. the parties are reversed and suttee -- suddenly the deal is not holding because we see filibuster after filibuster after filibuster obstruction the ability to enable this -- the executive branch with the president reelected by the citizens of the united states, and vacancies in the judicial branch with judicial emergencies. the largest number of executive branch employments piled up, and yet, my colleagues on the other side here are saying, the senate
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is functioning just fine. about 80% of the american people think the senate is functioning fine. you have to recognize, they are just not paying attention. this is not the senate i knew as a young man coming here as an intern sitting up at the staff gallery, coming down to brief him on the amendments debate before each vote. , we had simple up and down votes, with the rare exception. if we turn the clock back to lyndon b. johnson, as majority leader, on this floor right here, only once in six years did he need to file a petition in order to close debate. that was not just on executive nomination. judicial nominations, and legislation. once in six years.
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, as majority leader, in his first six years, had filed 391 petitions. this petition process is it -- is designed to take a long time, because it was envisioned it would be used so rarely. here we are with a minority of the senate doing deep damage to the executive branch and deep damage to the judiciary by the abuse of the filibuster, creating an imbalance or creating on equal branches of government completely out of constitutional vision. are we, as members of this body who have a responsibility, have taken a pledge, going to allow for this deep abuse of the constitutional vision of equal branches? i do not think anyone who takes their pledge seriously
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can come to this floor and argue that a small group of the senate should be able to do deep damage to the other branches. noted, heican leader said, the strategy here is to break the rules in order to change the rules. i thought it would just remind that i believe he came here in 1985, that in that time. , many times, the senate has changed the rules, using a simple majority to change the application of the rule. we did it in september -- december 11, 1985. 1986, twice in 1987. once in 95. twice in 1996. in 1999, in the year 2000, in 10 year 2000 and 11, that is
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times in the time the republican leader has been a member of the senate. he described this as a nuclear option. under his reasoning, there have been 10 nuclear option bombs exploding in the chamber, in the time he served here. , i did not hear that in the presentation he put forward. now, it might interest the republican leaders to recall that, where under the standard of the simple majority, the purpose -- the application of a rule had changed, occurred in the time he had served seven times under republican leadership. it occurred three times under democratic leadership. seven times under republican leadership, the action we are discussing here of reorienting the application of the rule in order to make the senate work
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better, three times under democratic leadership. all of these during the time served in the chamber. i come to the floor and talk about breaking the rules in order to change the rules, the republican leader would have to go back and talk about those 10 times and explain how somehow, it does not qualify to the same standard. to get it is important away from the over inflation of the rhetoric put forward here. a second piece that bothered me in this debate was to say the majority leader broke his word. i think everyone understands there are two parties to a deal and they need to uphold their half. so, i would remind folks here about what republican leaders
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have the deal was. i put it as a january pledge. this is the pledge made by the republican leader on the floor of this chamber. he said senate republicans will continue to work with the majority to process nominations consistent with the norms and traditions of the senate. what are those norms and traditions? those are the nominations are able to be voted on in a modest amount of time with up-and-down votes. if we should have any doubt about what the republican leader meant, we can go to a republican policy document from 2005. here, we have the last major debate over the abuse of the filibuster. and this is what the republican policy argument said. this breakdown in senate norms is profound. there is now a risk the senate
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is creating a new 60 vote confirmation standard. the constitution plainly requires no more than a majority vote to confirm any executive nomination, but some senators have shown they are determined to override this constitutional standard. so, i will stop quoting for a minute and note, a very cleared the litany asian of a constitutional standard during the time the republican leader was here in this chamber, 2005, not so many years ago. the document goes on to sayso, if te to restore not act the constitution's simple majority standard, it could be plausibly argued a precedent has been set in a 50 vote threshold for nominations. the document goes on to talk
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about the role in the constitution of consent. one way the senators can restore the traditional understanding of that is to employ the constitutional option and exercise the senate majorities power of constitution to define the senate practices and procedures. exercising the constitutional option in response to judicial filibusters would restore the senate to its long-standing norms and practices. we want to know what norms and traditions meant on this pledge in january, it is all laid out there in extensive detail in the republican policy history ofd in the united states. a modest amount of time to have a vote after a nomination comes out of committee with a simple up or down vote with rare exception. that is not what we have had. i would ask the republican to have a discussion
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,bout our constitutional role much like the debate the republicans led in 2005. otherwise, we are just passing aspersions. the citizens looking in wonder, what happened to the great deliberative institution, the senate. of processing a nominations according to the norms and traditions of the after did not materialize january. within days, there was the first ever in the u.s. history filibuster of a nominee for defense secretary. ironically that nominee was a former republican senator, chuck hagel. after that,rt time we had a letter from 44 senators saying they would not on any nominee for
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the consumer financial protection bureau. any nominee? that is the advice that calls fore a simple up-and-down? they will use a filibuster to oppose any nominee regardless? that is using the filibuster in a whole new way, to basically say, we do not have the votes to undo the financial protection bureau, which, by the way, is charged with stopping predatory practices that undermine the , but,s of families indeed, instead of trying to get rid of this institution that protects families, and i am not sure where family values fit in there, we are instead going to prevent anyone from exercising leadership and being in the directors chair. i will conclude with this. my colleague is waiting to speak. let's recognize the deal laid out in january did not work. it did not work. it does not make sense to keep
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saying, who did not make it work echo certainly, from my perspective, on this side of the aisle, this issue of continuing to work, to processing nominations, did not work. my republican colleagues have a different concept of how it did not work. at the heart, as they a knowledge in 2005, there is a constitutional vision for the use of advice and consent and that constitutional vision is in deep trouble. it is not permission for one coequal branch to undermine the other two branches. that is why members of this body need to have a debate. wrestley we need to with restoring the role of this senate, the proper role in the nomination process. thank you, mr. president, and i yield the floor to my colleague. > senator from alabama?
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a time in the senate and i hate to see it happen. this is a robust body. we defend on the interest of our constituents and try to advocate for the values we share. it is a contentious place. we usually work our way through this. , there is nosay reason we should be at this point today. i do believe the majority leader has been abusing the powers of his office. i remain dreadfully concerned and firmly believe this consistent practice of using the totic of filling the tree keep members of the senate from having a vote is an abuse, maybe are large in the issue we
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dealing with today. it is larger. been debating the question of student loans, interest rates going up, and how to fix them. they are two different bills. two different ideas. one the majority leader's supports. he brought it up and he wants to vote on it. and he does not want to vote on anything else. what a number of senators on this side, with democratic senators who agreed, in a have come upy, with a better bill, i think it is better and we want to vote on it. he has filled a tree, and in the , on anstates senate important issue, and on an
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extremely well thought out all alternative plan that could make the loan issues be fixed, the majority leader says, you do not get a vote. is a change in the history of the senate and it goes on .very day and senators have to plead with the majority leader to get a vote on an amendment. this is not the way the senate should be and that is a really big deal. it goes on every day. it is time to stop it. . thatenators have to plead witha nominations have to be moved a majoritythe pace leader would like them to be. are veryhese controversial, for very significant reasons. in my opinion, the president's nominations in his second term,n important issue, and have been less capable than his first, they are not -- many of them have serious weaknesses that need to be examined.
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many of them should never be approved. i am just talking about one now about to come to the floor. .e ought to debate that the constitution provides if the senate should advise and .onsent that is the question we are dealing with in many ways here. but, look, we fight over that. and we come down to the big issue. this is the issue. in essence, to change the rules a two senate, it takes thirds, 67 votes of the senate to change the rules of the
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senate. what the majority leader is proposing to do, that because of a fight over maybe three nominations that were illegally theinted as determined by court of appeals by the district were illegallyey appointed. the president wants to continue to have them served. senator mcconnell opposes it, and many others on this side opposed it and do not think they should be confirmed. ist the majority leader proposing to do is to say, in you cannot block a vote on those nominations and require 60 votes, and it only has to be 51. he will propose that. in essence. you cannot block a vote thehose nominationswhat will h, parliamentarian of the united states senate were illegally appointed.
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will rue that senator mcconnell is correct the nomination is not prepared to be voted on, because 60 votes were not obtained. the majority leader loses. then what does he intend to do? he intends to look to the chair and say, i appealed the ruling of the chair and expect all of his members to line up behind him, presumably, and vote to overrule the rules of the senate. overrule the end of parliamentarian of the united states senate. is talkingt he about doing. when senator mcconnell says he wants to break the rules, to change the rules, that is exactly what he means. that is exactly what we are talking about. >> question. >> let me just finish my thought.
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that, colleagues, is the dangerous thing. stability in the senate requires us not to willy-nilly every time we have a tempest in a teapot, as these three nominations are, every time we have that kind of thing, that we up and change the rules. ,here will be times, no doubt when things will get so intense, over big, big issues, that actions get taken. record whether they are wise or not wise, but, colleagues, we do not need to be changing the rules of the senate every time it becomes inconvenient for the majority leader. he has already done this once. he changed the rules of the senate when the senator was making a motion to get a vote when he was denied the right to have a vote, majority leader
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still the tree, would not allow a vote. he used a technique to forward a vote element to that issue, and the majority leader got tired of it and he appealed it. they backed him on that. that was done. this gets to be a habit around here. thesite is not happy with power from the top, from the majority leader, and how it is impacting everyday life in the senate. we are not going to go quietly on this one. it is a big yield. -- it is a big deal. i am pleased that at least we will have some conference monday , openly "the issue
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amongst ourselves, and see if we can't avoid what could be a serious constitutional crisis. ourlieve we need to cool heads down a bit, and understanding nature of the senate is the majority does not get everything it wants. , i member how the judges situation develop. this is what happened. judges have not been filibustered. there have been a few attempts or efforts added to delay votes in that kind of thing. people were held up. notematic filibusters will -- were not at all part of the tradition of the senate. after president bush was elected in 2000, the democrats went to conference in a retreat somewhere. and there, three liberal lawyers
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and professors came out of the retreat and announce we are changing the ground rules of confirmation. the first nominees president bush nominated, they filibustered. prayedqualified nominees -- nominees. no basis to oppose them on merit. --went on for two years omar or more. others were being blocked. result, leader frist threatened this kind of event. at the end, cooler heads prevailed.
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a compromise was reached prayed what happened was we said the agreement was we would not filibuster federal judges unless extraordinary circumstances existed. normally, we would give an up or down vote to federal judges. that was the way that was settled. with regard to the nominations we are looking at now, these three uniquely appointed nominees were extraordinary circumstances. not sitn -- we should here and go quietly when the president of the united states without any legal basis makes a recess appointment to avoid the confirmation process and outlines when we object to the poll being confirmed after the court was being held the legal. were they were rolled they illegally appointed, they continue to sit and continue to vote. they should not have done that.
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they should've follow the court's order, even if they previously thought they were legally appointed. which they weren't, clearly from the beginning. it was never close to being a legitimate recess appointment. i mourn about this. hopefully, cooler heads will come together and work this out. with regard to the traditional norms of the senate, since i've been in the senate, you do not move a nomination until you get questions answered relative and -- to their plummet. there are a lot of bases for that. what was the breaking word question was, this was raised the beginning of the year. this was discussed.
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an agreement was reached. as part of the agreement, senator reid said he would muse and nuclear option if the republicans agreed to certain things. an agreement was agreed. others ran on the agreement. senator merkley openly said the agreement didn't work. there's an agreement out there. it was agreed to. senator reid is now changing that agreement, changing the commitment he made in exchange for getting concessions from the side. this is not the breaking of a .ord this was negotiating agreement of great intensity. were involved.s the essence of it was concessions were made by the republican side and the
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democratic leader except those concessions and said he would not use the nuclear option. now he is threatening to use the nuclear option. look at this nomination. both could happen before today. they determined to move it through. this is a highly important agency. , he as the united states attorney in minnesota dealt -- i was a notices attorney for 12 years. your closest agency you deal with is the fbi. you have to deal with them on a regular basis. they know how well you do your job rating know whether or not you are functioning well. there is a good relationship normally. you try not to be critical of one another. what mr. oswald, a
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former special agent in charge of the fbi wrote about mr. jones. executive,fbi senior i'm one of the few voices able to publicly express our complete discontent with mr. jones. mr. jones is ineffective, and his poor service or vita to federal law enforcement communities without their of retaliation a rich accretion from them. he is no longer in office. he does not have any fear. say -- he goes onto to say he felt morally compelled to make the committee, the judiciary committee, aware of his atrocious professional reputation within the federal law enforcement community in minnesota's twin cities area
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this the guy they want to alcoholto head the tobacco and firearms. his lack of concern about matters and issues brought to ,is attention by each of us each of us means the other federal agencies, like the drug enforcement administration, the secret service, or the irs. our common dissatisfaction with mr. jones is poor leadership, and insufficient prosecution support. it was the theme of many discussions during my tenure. he is consistently reacted defensively and often spoke to us to strip back fully and occasionally with disdain. thathe won on to note after he became united states attorney in minnesota, they prosecuted significantly less
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, 40% fewerery type defendants were charged in 2012. he was a prosecuting the cases. the federal agencies were up in arms about it. this retired as ac tells the truth. i think you should be listened to. president obama is determined to ,ake him the head of the atf weaponsg leadership of charges all over america. we are the have had the fast and furious candle. shouldn't the senate as questions about this? they are rushing it through committee. they're trying to do it right now. move him on. get him confirmed. if anybody stands in the way, tough luck. majority leader is quick to
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drive it through. he gets to decide who gets confirmed around here. he gets to the -- he gets to decide the rules of the senate. in the last part of president bush's term, when they blocked john bolton to be ambassador to the united nations. he was absolutely blocked by full filibuster. by the democratic senate. i just, the rules were not change then. the rules are not going to be changed now. we have a conference coming up. let's see if we can't work through it. let's see if we can't work in a way that restores the senate. the senate is that thing that is supposed to provide a cooling opportunity to slow down rush to judgment.
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compelled to confirm three members to lower official appointments in the federal government who are illegally appointed and continue to serve in the offices after they were so found? i do not think so. i do not think that dispute is such that would lead the majority leader to break the rules of the senate, to override the plane rules of the senate through a procedure not proper and dangerous. there are other things that could go wrong at this goes forward. it is my impression from talking to my colleagues that there are deep feelings about it. --ple have had enough is another of this. there have been abuses here about how we conduct our business. we are not going to keep
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accepting that. when you accept that, the loyal aposition is eroding over period of time to exercise the little powers it has. the senate is we can. role as the body that slows down problems, the stanza to atf nominations, that appointedto illegally judges. we do not need to does that. another is a lot of feeling here. i see my colleagues have been through these for a long time. they been seeing these disputes. i've seen a few myself in my 16 years. what i would just say is, this situation does not justify the
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nuclear option. it does not. it is a dangerous thing. it can be a deck to for the majority leader -- it can be leaderve to the majority . that is what the issue is about. i asked my democratic colleagues to slow down. maybe this conference monday will help us reach an accord and avoid very dangerous events for the history of united states senate. >> with my colleague yield to a question? >> i would yield 20 question. >> thank you. i have in front of me the list of the number of times that the application of a rule was changed from the precedent.
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it was dumb -- it was done each time under a sippel majority structure. 19 -- done 10 times since 1985. that seven earlier of these times this was done under republican leadership. republicans came to the floor and said we are going to change the application of a rule under redirection of the precedent. if you'reted to ask familiar with that. the way you were speaking, it sounded as if this conversation is about something that had never been done. it is a, i would say dangerous trend. it can be addictive, and it can
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undermine the nature of the united states senate. i didn't say it had never happened. to my knowledge, i would like for the senator to list for me the number of times since 1985 the majority leader has gone before the parliamentarian and the presiding officer and actually altered the rules by vote of the senate overruling the chair. >> i'm having to do that. i had a list of front of me. in 1985, december 11, the sin allows conference on everything .hat is relevant the ruling of the chair was reversed. septemberned again in -- >> what is the vote on that? the one overall is
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the federal judges. at the end, cooler heads wasailed, and a compromise reached. some of these could be technical rulings of the chair that are not that significant. i meant to seeing what others you might mention. >> certainly. i'm interested in if there is an actual vote in the body of the senate. >> i can assure my colleagues that each and every one of these involved in actual vote. each and every one of these locations did reverse the previous precedent. it happens in two fashions. >> would you offer that for the record? >> absolutely. >> i would like to look at it and see where we are. personal get you a copy.
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i appreciate the senators sharing that. we will study those. a practice that can occur, but it is a dangerous practice. the sin is a place of a certain amount of collegiality. a certain amount of good judgment in understanding and respect for the body. sometimes, you can carry out a that may be dubious or of accessible procedures. symptoms you can feel and understand that that is a dangerous alteration on the president -- precedent of the senate. that is what i'm afraid of. -- weator reed said the
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will hear from senator reed and other senate democrats on possible filibuster should challenges. >> ok. we had a good caucus. a couple of people do not like changing the rules. we have the roots -- the votes to move forward on this. our position is very clear. gridlock andeak make washington work for merrick, especially the middle class. we want to get things done and respond to the challenges faced by america, and the middle class. the first step is to stop
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blocking the president's nominees. all you had to do was be on the floor today and see the case for us. those nominees took months, and months through tactics before we had a vote on somebody they agreed with. three of the people that are my this,tes on cloture on they do not like that law. they are not going to let him have his job. they say they will work out a compromise. what we will do is rely just lay that issue. but we will do is set up so we can be a funding agency.
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these people are tainted. there is not a single word in any record of any place that opposes any of the three nominees. not a single word. my friend senator mcconnell says this is all big labor? of the private sector is represented by organized labor. you think that organized labor should care a little bit about having a secretary of labor, at thesomeone who works casa politan -- causal politan , you thinks vegas those janitors should have
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someone to represent them when they fire them, or there is a labor dispute? we are not interested in cutting a deal. the president deserves to have his team in place. there are no more objections to any of these nominees. all we need is six in the vote cloture. let them vote against these people. why should they hold them up procedurally? this is about having a presence. having a team in place. in 3.5 years, it may be president clinton, president biden, resident bush. should they be will to have the team they want? that is all this is about. this is about making washington work even without the --
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, but walked on that tall. mitch mcconnell think the status quo is terrific. concentrates and in this chamber has gone on long enough. ,he question has been asked let's get together for a joint caucus. fine. i have no problem with that. we tried that. that.ppy to do we are having a joint caucus with senator mccain talked about his experiences in vietnam. to do thee -- happy joint caucus breed the bottom -- the caucus.
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>> thank you. the republicans in the senate have refused to acknowledge the obvious. twice, the american people have elected barack obama president. it is been their decision to let him lead america. theas last -- asked for team to lead this country breather and denial of his victory and his mandate. time and again, they tell him on the most critically important agencies they point to stop him from leading this nation by stopping him from having the people he needs on his team in place. waitingcordray has been for two years. for public us to get them this opportunity. while the not do it? is there an allegation of incompetence, or corruption? not at all. they do not like the agency. the consumer financial reduction agency. they refused to give them a chance to serve. that is their policy.
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they would rather see it disappear. the president was forced to reassess an appointment. have a race and the questions about competency or corruption within? wine. there are no questions about her competency. they are trying to stop the president from leading the nation. the gridlock asked to to an end. -- the gridlock has to come to an end. the norm says filibusters, 30 votes on the floor, people looking very closely at their television screens on c-span to see if there's any evidence of life life on the floor the united states senate. that is the norm in this
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institution. it is unacceptable. the american people expect us to step up and solve problems. they expect us to do without gridlock. this is the only we can move this forward. the numbers speak for themselves. were 2049-2008, there filibusters of executive appointments. 59 years, 20 filibusters. obama, in thet last five years, there've been 16. it has become the norm. filibustering. as senator reed has said, the they end upay, giving them overwhelming votes. delay it, wait, stop. the american people do not want to stall. he won us to act. one is to solve the problems of the country and i've a partisan -- on a bipartisan basis.
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we have got to break this jam. >> i want to thank my colleagues. the majority leader has just announced he's moving forward with a group of nominees to give the president bikini deserves to five for the middle class. just about everyone in america believe that once you elect a president, he deserves his choices to run the executive branch. a new tactic has been introduced to try to paralyze the executive thech with a paralyzed legislative branches is pretty denial of the government to function. they have chosen to agencies they particularly dislike. those are the number the problem -- the nub of the problem. the nominees are more than
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qualified. actually, there was bipartisan agreement on that point. you would have to be hard- pressed to find a republican to call the school -- call these nominees unqualified. why not let them through? they are blocking these nominees because our colleagues want to paralyze these agencies. they just do not want them to function no matter who runs them. they hate these agencies more than they hate others. they do not like the agencies. they do not like with the agencies do. they block the nominees who will lead them. they say these people were illegally appointed reply to the president have to do recess appointments? if they went out loud a vote, we would not have recess appointment. as soon as the president submitted nominees in 2011,
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republicans responded they block every single nominee to that board no matter who it was. the board didn't have a quorum. he could not function. like, alice in wonderland. they say they're going to vote -- block the nominees. and they say they were illegally appointed. we have -- we cannot let these nominees go for. the president was forced to reset the points of sharon block because they so strongly object to the republicans existence. we know the story on the cft bb. , they wouldn'tt have the agency at all. they have refused to allow a vote on richard cordray, and let us know that they would not have
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allowed a vote on elizabeth ren.en -- war because they want the consumer financial protection board to disappear. they're willing to allow a vote now only after they've taken all the teeth out of his agency. that is like saying to a baseball player we will let you step up to the plate, but you cannot have a bat. don't hit the ball. republicans do not have a single ax to grind with these nominees. it is similar with the atf agencies. their tactic is simply to not allow the agency to have a leader. a because they do not like the leader. because they do not want the agency to exist. it exists in law, and this is the tactic they have used. toy do not have a single ax
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grind with our nominees. they will not let them through because they object to the existence of the agencies and the board they lead, even though they have been created by law. when it comes to criticizing the traits and qualifications of individuals the president has put forward, all you hear is crickets. it is galling. these positions are going unfilled because simply they do not like the agency, and do not want it function. that is not right. that is not fair. we have obligation to stop it or it will only get worse. >> i think it is amazing that republicans who love to go on and on about streamlining government and about red tape are behind this unprecedented failure in making congress were for the people that elect them. it is a complete failure.
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just listen to the numbers that senator durbin just talked about. with a nominees waiting on average for over two years -- 250 days. nominees thatd 84 .re pending have questionnaires talk about government inefficiency. absolutely no business would tolerate this. republicans ought to know that. neither should we. the president deserves to have a qualified team. his whole team, not half of it. that is not how this works. elections have consequences. presidents, republican or democrat, deserve to put in place a full team to work for the american people. we need to in this gridlock and
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become more responsive to the major problems that we face. at the end of the day, this isn't about and inside baseball argument that only affects the people in this town. this is about serving the american people. we are not doing that when we allow the republicans free range to block people whose job it is to protect our shrinking middle class and hazardous workplace conditions or unfair wages, or disappearing benefits, or his job it is to protect americans that are struggling financially from falling victim to unfair mortgage schemes, or deceptive lending practices, or to ask the person who is charged with protecting our air and our water and our environment to sit on the sidelines even the she has the qualifications and experience to begin serving today. this is out of hand. it is -- if it is not clear, our patients has
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-- our patience has run thin. ensureoing to fight to the american people have a government. >> what would happen if republicans agreed to approve these nominees? >> hollow loop. -- hollow luigi. -- hallelujah. >> what is the next up? wax i'm going to go to the floor and tuesday and do what i need to do so this is not happen anymore. [inaudible] the issue is this. if you go back and look at the statements made by my republican colleagues, he was in favor.
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we were able to get over that. we worked our way through that. there were people who are reasonable who for. we do not have that same reasonable ideology among republicans. you would think they could come up with people to invoke cloture on this. they do not exist anymore. learned,- as we have the republican leader was hosting out there about getting things done that we used to automatically. for two successive congresses, i have told that to my caucus. the vast majority of my democratic caucus wanted to move forward and change the rules. . he said it would call it the
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norms of the senate. the places that weren't. when it is too bad, and the american people know this dysfunction we have here, all we are asking is to what the president have his team prepare not talking about changing the filibuster rules that relates to nominees. we are saying we shouldn't be held up. we have 15 nominees who've been held up for an average of nine months. as is placed it be changed? yes. [inaudible] >> you mentioned judges. in just awe be back couple of weeks? >> this is focused concisely.
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our best to get those done. we need the d c circuit very much. this is not about judges. it is about presidential executive nominations. [inaudible] have artie told us they're going to block the next three judges on the circuit. >> [inaudible] >> no, i do not think it would be appropriate. have past 36 years, we've changing roles 18 times. -- the past 36 years, we have changed the rules 18 times. you are invoking the nuclear
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option question mark >> no. we have to see what the weekend brings. the reality is that they are not willing to be reasonable. thank you everybody. >> now reactions from senate republicans on possible changes to the senate filibuster rules. this is 20 minutes. >> as you can see, this is a real mess.
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it is not a good mess. the back of the matter is, the senate has been the most deliberative body in the world rights we protect the of the minority. it was just a few years ago the majority leader was argued for those rights himself, saying the senate would be destroyed if we went to a nuclear option, which nobody did. it has never been done before. frankly, it should be done now. they arethe matter is, playing parliamentary tricks with regard to this. they are doing to the detriment of the united states senate, to .he detriment of the minority i have been in the majority and the minority and number of times. i have to tell you, i will fight for the rights of the minority. that is one way that united states senate is the most important legislative body in the world. we go the route
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that the majority leader and the democrats are going, it is going to be a very destructive thing. they will say they are eliminating -- nce used on -- want to start on that road, it is a pandora's box buried there is no end to what one side or the other can do. the have to be very careful because a lot of the things they hold dear could go by the wayside if the majority was to change. the protection of the rights of the minority, that is one of the ways that has the senate has become the greatest ~ body in the world. the big of a bill and file cloture immediately, even though they know that nobody is filibustering. they accuse is a filibustering breed all of them go through it
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without any filibuster or real problems. process, they count what are filibuster's filibusters. you fail tount if vote for cloture. effect of the matter is, this is a very perilous time for the united states senate and for our country. the make the senate like the house representatives, when any majority can just do whatever they want to, with a double aeration -- without the double -- without the say is iton, all caps i in will be to the determination to this country. not just republicans, democrats. this is driven by the trade
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unions in this country who want to be will to get whatever they want whenever they wanted. i do not know about you, but many of the things of a wanted over the years have not been right. it would've destroyed the country. some things they have wanted, they have gotten because they have been right. many of the things they want are frankly, i do not know what is the matter with my colleagues on the other side. they seem to be in the pockets of the unions on these matters. they want to get to people on the labor board will been improperly appointed. who should be on that board. i was suggest that all they have to do is appoint to others who have the same loss of the, and they would get to the senate. because the rules were broken, the procedure rules were broken,
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rubble and seven a choice but to stand up and say that is not right. there are ways you can do this. if you look at the record, over the last number of years of this administration, he is been treated much better than his predecessors. they're backed up on judges because they knew the judges have been treated fairly. so have most of the others. to filibusterer and stop an executive nominee. we didn't have any until the 45ocrats filibustered judicial nominees. this is a serious issue. i hope my colleagues wake up on the other side. this is not going to be fun for them in the future. >> in regard to the filibuster,
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what is the big deal wetjen mark we've improved 199 judges in just a few -- we have approved 199 judges and disapproved to. deal on ae big filibuster? we have 82 vacancies in the course. 53 nominees are not up here from the white house. the big deal is obviously something wrong with the white house. i may quote your that have heard so many times. it is very good. was the mostption important issue i had ever worked on in my entire career because that if it had gone forward, it would've destroyed the senate as we know it. majority leader reid, march
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2009. that is a pretty big deal. it involves the checks and balances of government. basically, what you are doing is just trying the constitution if we go ahead with this. >> like to say two things about what is really at stake here. this isn't about a change of rules. it is not changing the senate. changing its character. most of the founders of our country did not want a king. they created a congress to check in imperial presidency. the best-known power of the united states senate is probably the power of advice and consent in article two. it means that the president, who
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is 19, has to be checked. king, has tot a be checked. it means ask a lot of questions. democrats have so many questions .hen president reagan nominated they asked questions of me when departmentated for of education. that was the right of the senate. what is at stake here is not just a change in the rules. it is the way the rule is change. with 51means is that votes, any majority can do anything it wants on any day in the united states senate. it can change abortion rights. it can change civil rights. in change environmental laws. it can change labor laws. today, the house can do that.
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when it comes to the senate, we stop and think and consider it. after this, whoever has the majority can do whatever he wants on any day. that is a dangerous trend. it is a washington and jefferson and adams feared. it is one of the two greatest , therous to our democracy tyranny of the majority predicted in the character of the senate is encouraging the tyranny of the majority. if anyone has a deep understanding of history. this claim that somehow that theblicans are delaying -- number of cabinet positions that have been filibustered is zero. of subcabinet members is zero. the number of judges is to. -- 2. delay the washington
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post, president bush's nominees are being considered -- i mean president obama's are being considered more rapidly than president bush's of president clinton's. this is the executive calendar. there are 24 names on them. they all, democratic committees. that is the only way they can get here. he can bring them all and tomorrow. the one that has been on there the longest came in 2013. is four months ago. i challenge the news media to look into these questions about delays. if there are zero seats lost by 'slibusters, if the president nominees are moving through fast, what is behind the attempt to change the character of the -- thewetjen mark senate?
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the facts put out there made it clear this is nothing more than a power grab. nothing more, nothing less. that is precisely what it is. to runocrats here want over the mine or did. we have seen that the president doesn't like you with a minority in washington. whether it is the irs, the epa, he has a lot of agencies that are trying to usurp the powers. legislate by executive order. we have seen it over and over again. but the majority of democrats are talking about doing here is essentially running over the rights of the minority. if you look at the -- there is no foundation in which to change
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the rules. when you look at the executive branch nominees, and he said there have not been any denied term,mation in the second the votes of been big. the department of energy was 97- 0. the low one, jack lew only got 71 votes. they are getting overwhelming votes in the senate. as has been stated, there have been 199 lower court confirmations. two were defeated. if you look at this year, the number that have been confirmed as 28 judges. at the same time, in president bush's second, the number was 10. in processing time, it has been a lot faster. they are getting 100 days faster in terms of the rate of which judges are getting to the process here. there is no foundation, no bases upon which the democrats should
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do what they are talking about doing. as somebody who came here back in 2005, and came into office on this argument, because the democrats were holding up president bush's judicial nominees, and there was a debate about whether or not to exercise a nuclear option, many of us refresh rate is with the pace of the senate. were some pathetic to that argument. fortunately, cooler heads prevailed. there were lots of things he wanted to do legislatively. we would love to have gotten malpractice reform passed read or expiration on the north coast of alaska for energy. big majorities. sure the necessary super majority that it takes to get things done in the senate. that is the beauty of the united states senate. it allows representation for minority rights. ist they're talking about undermining and wrecking that.
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senator reid said it would destroy the senate. make no mistake about it, their document executive nominations today. if you do this, it blows the door wide open. they will establish a precedent and it will not -- it will only isa matter of time before it used for legislation as well. there is going to, time where there are no longer any majority. it is going to be difficult to turn back the hands of time if him -- if they move forward with a are talking about doing. i hope cooler heads will prevail. the paneltioned nominees are being contested.
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the issue of her republicans say is they are unconstitutional. if you confirm them now, they would be constitutional. they did understand the argument there. when addressed your concerns? >> they disobey the rules and went around the rules. it seems to meet up with the people that have gone around the rules into powerful positions. there are are people who will not abide by the rules. like i suggested, if they want to pick to others the same philosophy philosophy, they would probably get through. we do not count that kind of thinking. i do not know anybody who would. >> if i could, that is an excellent question. here is what happened. the president sent these two names to the senate in mid- in the regular1
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order prayed before their names got to the appropriate committee, he used his recess appointment power to appoint them at a time when the senate was in session. the court said that is unconstitutional. affront to the checks and balances that are in the constitution to restrain the president greatly up to date about what we appropriately do about it. it he can do is to appeal the court, and the court agreed with us. the second thing we can do is to say that those individuals who continue to make decisions after the court said they were unconstitutionally there, that we are not going to confirm them. they should've stepped down, which is will be called on them to do. they participated in deciding decisions which are subject to be vacated. this is our appropriate response within a long, within the rules, and the precedents of the
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senate. to an unconstitutional act by the president of the united states appointed two people to the united -- national labor's board. recording senator reid from 2009 saying that it would ruin the senate. he and his colleagues were saying that the senate is already ruined because there is all getting done. does he the point of that? to the again that cooler heads prevail, could that happen again? could you show him the goodwill? >> the main reason is and is not doing as well as it should is because of the way the majority is running it, which is an argument we will take across the country. we know how to make it work.
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i think it is dysfunctional leadership of the senate grade not a dysfunctional senate. the second thing is, we could be working on student loans this weekend. as well ivan -- that is what i have been working on. before that was a water resources bill. we are getting done when the majority leader will be the senate in a way that lets us do it. this place could function very well and very easily and has been accomplishing something's. they haveion is failed. they cannot run the senate. we need any majority. as we is what we are going to be arguing for. that is an example of things that are being done here. if you look at the farm bill, the internet fairness act, there's a whole bunch of legislation that has moved. they are working on an agreement on the student loan bill right now. that will ultimately get moved
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with bipartisan support. i do not know how you, here with a straight face make an argument that things are not working on executive nominations. there's not been a single cabinet level nominee in the second term that hasn't been confirmed. as i pointed out, confirm by overwhelming majorities. the fame -- the same thing is true to digital nominees. -- the same thing is true for judicial nominees. andcan have an argument opinions about whether or not they like the rules of the senate, whether or not the rule should be changed, but you cannot argue the facts. the facts are indisputable. they are all right here. the same thing is true with regards to legislative activity in this session of congress. there have been things that have been done with bipartisan support. canher cooler heads prevail, i hope they do.
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we are not the ones who were rushing to the floor to try and change the rules. we are trying to say to put the brakes on here. if there are things that we can do together on with regard to these nominees, republican's are willing to do that. at this point, clearly the democrats are moving in a direction that is detrimental to the country and jeopardizes the institution of the senate. >> immigrants say it is improper to hold of a nominee. >> he has two problems. he was appointed in a recess appointment by the president and the senate was not a recess. he has that problem. just like the labor relations board. think about this. senator reid himself invented something called the pro-farm three-day session. he did that.
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president george w. bush time. president bush and like it at all. he respected the separation of power. president obama made recess appointments when the president -- when the senate was not in research -- when the senate was not in. as the unconstitutional imperial action of the president that demands a response from the senate if checks and balances mean anything. >> what are the immediate consequences? we support him legislation altogether? >> if he changes the character of the senate, then the senate ceases to function. it will take our case to the people. we will argue for any new majority. republicans will be in the position to do whatever relevance -- republicans with 51
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votes want. can take a medical malpractice, we can take up obamacare preemie can -- obamacare. .he more attractive it becomes that is what we will happen. instead of a on student loans and immigration, all the things mentioned, it will turn this into a national debate about who controls the new majority institution in our country. to do whatever we can think of. >> a joint meeting will be held on monday in the senate chamber to reach a compromise on the filibuster on senator obama's
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nominees. the house passed a scaled back version of the farm bill thursday after nutritional programs were the vote was 216-208. here is part of the house debate on the rule. >> it offers amendments that would protect the children of america from hunger. >> the chair would ask members to confine unanimous request -- consent requests to simple, declarative statements of the attitudes toward the measure. further embellishments will result in a deduction of time from the yielding member.
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>> mr. speaker -- >> without objection. >> i yield to the gentleman from florida, mr. hastings, for unanimous consent. >> i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rules because it takes the safety net away from america's poor families. >> without objection, the gentleman's time will be charged. >> mr. speaker, i yield to the gentleman from mr. new york, mr. randel. >> thank you. i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks strong opposition to the farm the underlying bill, because it hurts america's children. >> without objection, the gentleman's time will be charged. >> mr. speaker, i yield. >> the gentleman will citizen cori -- will state his inquiry. opposed, that is
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beyond the boundaries of the clarity when he or she is in opposition to the rule? >> the members must limit their motion to simple, declarative statements. any other embellishment will be charged. the gentleman will state his inquiry. >> mr. speaker, the speaker has enunciated the rule. a simple, declaratory statement. made a, mr. hastings simple, declaratory statement as to why he was opposed. it seems to clearly fall within contemplatedthe statement that a member can make without time being charged. the chair has however articulated that without objection the gentleman's time will be charged. if that is subject to an objection, which i think it probably is not, i would object.
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but i will also appeal the ruling of the chair if the chair continues that ruling and we will have a vote on that. >> the chair will evaluate each declarative statement individually. the gentleman's point is made. >> i think the speaker for his observation and would hope the declaratory statement similar to the one being made by mr. hastings will clearly not, as it has historically, in my view has not been so, count against the time for the gentleman from massachusetts. >> the gentleman from massachusetts. >> mr. speaker, i yield to ms. consenta unanimous request. >> i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the rule and underlying bill because it increases hunger in america. >> the gentleman from massachusetts. >> i yield to the gentleman from -- gentleman from minnesota. >> the gentleman is recognized
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very >> mr. speaker, i ask for unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule because it increases hunger in america. >> without objection. >> mr. speaker, i yield to the gentleman from maryland, mr. cummings. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule, and the underlying bill, because it takes the safety net away from america's poor families here at >> without objection. >> i yield to the gentleman from florida for a unanimous consent request. >> i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rules and the underlying bill because it hurts the children of america. >> without objection. ther. speaker, i yield to gentleman from wisconsin.
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>> recognized her >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying bill because it hurts america's children. >> without objection. >> i yield to the gentleman from north carolina, mr. butterfield, for unanimous consent request. >> recognized. >> i have a parliament three inquiry. >> he will state his inquiry. billreceived a copy of the , and it appears to have no nutrition title at all. is this a printing error? prexy gentleman has not stated his parliamentary inquiry -- >> the gentleman has not stated his part mentoring create your > parliamentary inquiry. >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in total opposition to rulearm rule -- farm bill
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and underlying bill because it hurts america's children. >> without objection. the chair will receive the message. >> a message from the senate. >> mr. speaker -- >> i have been directed by the senate to inform the house that the senate amendment to the bill, the vietnam veterans acknowledgment act of 2013. >> the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized for it i yield to the gentleman from -- gentleman from ohio. >> i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying bill because it increases hunger in america. >> without objection. the gentleman from massachusetts. >> i yield to the gentle woman from texas.
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>> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying bill because we are the conscience of the congress. the majority of people getting food stamps are not african- american. >> without objection. be gentlewoman's time will charged. >> mr. speaker, i yield to the gentleman from georgia, mr. lewis, for unanimous consent. >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule and underlying bill because it takes the safety net away from america's poor families. >> without objection. the gentleman from massachusetts. >> i yield to the gentleman from michigan, mr. conyers, for a unanimous consent request. >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous
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consent to revise and extend my toarks in strong opposition the farm bill rule and the underlying bill because it hurts the working poor. >> without objection. the gentleman from massachusetts. >> i am proud to yield to the gentlewoman from alabama for unanimous consent request. >> the gentlewoman is recognized. >> i asked unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying bill because it takes the safety net away from america's poor families. >> without objection. gentleman fromhe texas, mr. green, for unanimous consent. >> the gentleman is recognized. toi asked unanimous consent revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying bill because it hurts the working poor. >> without objection. >> i yield to the gentleman --
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gentlewoman from illinois. toi ask unanimous consent revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm rulebull and -- farm bill and underlying bill because it increases poverty. >> i yield to ms. clarke for a unanimous consent request. consent toanimous revise and extend my remarks in total and strong opposition to and the bill rule underlying bill because it starts america's children. >> without objection. the gentlewoman's time will be charged. >> mr. speaker, i yield to the gentlewoman from florida. >> the gentlewoman is recognized. >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to
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the farm bill rule and the underlying bill because it hurts the working poor. >> without objection. >> mr. speaker, i am happy to yield to the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson lee. >> i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying bill because it takes food from children and increases the number of starving children in america. >> without objection. the gentlewoman's time will be charged. >> for what point? >> mr. speaker, referring to your previous ruling, one is allowed to give explanations for their opposition. those words are to be counted as part of the unanimous consent. >> in the opinion of the chair, the woman exceeded the simple declarative statements.
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i'm trying to be fair with this. >> can you declare, mr. speaker, what the interpretation is for >> theveness question my chair will judge each statement as to its simple declarative nature. >> continuing the parliamentary inquiry, is the amount of passion in your voice in opposition to the idea that this bill creates more starving children, is that -- >> may i inquire how much time has been charged us for these requests so far? >> the gentleman from massachusetts. >> mr. speaker, i am happy to yield to the gentlewoman from california. >> recognized. >> i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill and the underlying bill because it contributes to hunger in america. >> without objection.
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>> mr. speaker, i yield to the gentlewoman from maryland, ms. edwards. >> recognized. >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill and the underlying because it increases hunger in america. >> i have a parliamentary inquiry. >> the gentlewoman will state or inquiry. >> is it in order to amend the underlying bill and rule that currently provides for billions in subsidies to corporate farms while children and families go hungry, school lunch programs are devastated, and meals on wheels are taken from the disabled and senior citizens? >> the manager of the rule will have to yield for any amendment. >> mr. speaker, i am proud to yield to the gentleman from mr. george f or a unanimous consent request. the gentleman is recognized. toi ask unanimous consent
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revise and extend remarks in strong opposition to the bill because it takes food and nutrition from working families. elementary inquiry, please. >> the gentleman will state -- >> mr. speaker, will not this day go down in history as one of the most -- >> he is not stating an inquiry. the would like to yield to gentleman from illinois, mr. romney. -- mr. rush. >> i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill, to the rule, and to the underlying bill because it takes the safety net away from children toor request without objection. the gentleman from massachusetts.
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>> i am happy to yield to the gentleman from texas for a unanimous consent request. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying bill because it hurts the working poor. >> without objection. the gentleman from massachusetts. >> i yield to the gentleman from georgia, mr. bishop. >> recognized. toi ask unanimous consent revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying bill because it hurts the working poor and violates the long-standing partnership between agriculture producers and our nation's nutrition programs. >> without objection. the gentleman's time will be charged. >> elementary inquiry. >> the gentleman will state his inquiry. >> is a true that this rule takes and bifurcates the bill that came out of the authorizing
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committee and separates it into two separate bills in a way that ultimately hurts the working ?oor of this country >> the chair will not interpret the underlying bill. >> mr. speaker, i am proud to yield to the gentlewoman from california, ms. waters. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying bills because it takes the safety net away from america's poor families and takes food out of the mouths of children. >> without objection. the gentlewoman's time will be charged. speaker, i yield to the gentleman from south carolina for unanimous consent request. >> the gentleman is recognized or a >> thank you, mr. speaker. unanimous consent to
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revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill and the rule and the underlying bill because it significantly increases poverty in america. >> without objection. >> mr. speaker, i will yield to the gentleman from georgia, mr. johnson, for a unanimous consent request. order.house is not in >> the house will come to order. is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i would ask revise andonsent to extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule bill because it increases poverty in america. >> without objection. >> mr. speaker, i am happy to yield to the gentleman from
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texas. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> mr. speaker, as chair of the chc i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in very strong opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying bill because it hurts america's poor children and senior citizens. >> without objection. he gentleman's time will be charged. the gentleman from massachusetts. .> parliamentary inquiry i have been listening, as i'm sure you have observed, to the judges. what the gentleman just did was one sentence but it had an and and he gave a second reason. the first because it increases poverty, and the second, undermines children. that was the same sentence. there was little substantive difference between the statement that preceded that, for which you did not charge time, and the
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statement for the gentleman from the hispanic caucus. i would like to understand the parliamentary difference the speaker perceived in those two statements. >> in the opinion of the chair, the gentleman engaged in in belgium and -- embellishment. >> is the chair's ruling that only one reason will be allowed to be articulated by a member for opposition to the bill? >> the gentleman also prefaced his remarks. >> he did do that. >> the gentleman from massachusetts. >> explained to the american public, presumably watching this, as to the framework for which he was speaking. representing a large group of americans, hispanic americans who have a large number of representatives in this body. can he not explain he is the person from maryland, for instance, or the person from some other state? >> in the opinion of the chair, the gentleman engaged in embelli
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shment. >> i want to yield to the gentleman from new york very >> be gentleman is recognized or a >> i ask unanimous extends to revise and extend remarks in strong opposition to the farmer rule bill and underlying bill because it hurts the working poor, leaves children without food, and hurts seniors on an everyday basis. >> without objection, the gentleman's time will be charged. >> mr. speaker? .arliamentary inquiry >> the gentleman will state his inquiry. >> in explaining in your answer to the last parliamentary inquiry, you indicated the problem was that he embe llished by introducing himself as chairman of the hispanic caucus. the gentleman from new york did not do so, but simply articulated three reasons he was opposed to this bill. that is to me that
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certainly within the contemplation of the unanimous consent request. if we start parsing that people can only articulate one reason, i would suggest to our friends, the parliamentarians, and to the speaker that that will establish a precedent which will be very difficult and subjective for implementation by the speaker. i ask the speaker to perhaps further explained why mr. meeks's objection was charged. >> the chair is looking at a simple declarative statement, not multiple simple declarative statements. the gentleman from massachusetts. >> mr. speaker, further parliamentary inquiry. there was one declarative sentence. it had two commas. this toe going to parse that extent, i suggest to the speaker and, frankly, to those
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-- we are going down a road that is very dangerous. clearly if there was an extended time one could understand that. rtt adding two very shoe parenthetical phrases is, i inconsistent with your previous rulings that when you would not charge time against mr. mcgovern. >> i understood that when mr. he knows that introduced himself -- himselfjosa introduced as revisiting all of the hispanic caucus, that might be perceived as greater expedition than the speaker thought weren't it. statement was a simple declarative statement phrases,parenthetical
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explaining why he was objecting. it seems that is consistent with will three >> the chair continue to evaluate each individual declarative statement and make the judgment there with regards to embellishment according to previous statements. >> can i inquire how much time has been charged against us? >> two minutes total. wouldliamentary inquiry, it be in order for me to ask for unanimous consent that the time that has been charged against us be restored? that.bject to >> the objection is heard. the gentleman from massachusetts. >> further parliamentary inquiry -- >> the gentleman can make his request. >> i ask unanimous consent the time charged against us can be
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restored, given we are arguing on a closed rule under important legislation for which members would like to be heard. >> is there objection? >> there is objection. >> the gentleman from massachusetts. the would like to yield to gentleman from minnesota, mr. nolan, for unanimous consent request. >> recognized. >> i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying bill because of file eights say decades-all principal uniting urban and rural interests in feeding hungry people. >> without objection. the gentleman's time will be charged. >> mr. speaker, i yield to the gentlewoman from new hampshire. >> recognized. consent toanimous revise and extend my remarks in very strong opposition to the
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farm bill rule and the underlying bill because the veterans in my district, including children and patriotic , areies all across america hungry. >> gentleman from massachusetts. >> i yield to the gentleman from california --gentlewoman from california, ms. davis. >> i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill and the underlying bill. because it increases hunger of our constituents throughout this great country of ours. >> without objection. >> i ask unanimous consent to yield -- i yield to ms. velazquez. >> without objection. >> i ask unanimous consent to
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revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to this mean- spirited farm bill rule and the underlying bill because it takes nutrition from those most vulnerable amongst us, our children. if this was compassionate conservatism in front of us? >> the gentleman's time will be charged. >> i yield to the gentleman from mississippi. mr. thompson, for unanimous consent request. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying bill because it increases hunger , not only in my congressional district, but hunger in all congressional districts in america. >> without objection. gentleman from
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massachusetts. >> i yield to the gentleman from new jersey, mr. andrews. the gentleman is recognized. >> i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in a strong opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying hungercause it increases in america. >> without objection. >> i yield to the gentleman from rhode island, mr. sicily need -- >> parliamentary inquiry. is it the ruling of the chair that if in stating my request for unanimous consent i say a single reason, it is not charged for time, and if i stayed several reasons in the same sentence because i cited multiple reasons for requesting unanimous consent, it is charged? dispassionately , quietly. >> the chair will not respond to a hypothetical.
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speaker, i ask unanimous consent to extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying ale because it increases hunger in america, hurts seniors, and hurt the working poor. >> without objection. the gentleman's time will be charged. >> i yield to the gentleman from california. >> i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying bill because it hurts the working poor. >> without objection. gentleman from massachusetts. >> i yield to the gentleman from .missouri >> the gentleman is recognized. speaker, i would like to touest unanimous consent
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revise and extend my remarks in opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying bill because is a five-decade symbiosis between urban america and the farm community. for a lotome to this of reasons. most of them are negative. because i did not come to congress to make an enemy. i came here to make a difference. , am not here, mr. speaker trying to put politics above productive policy. ideology above the injured. i am not here to form division, but inclusion. i am not here because i believe
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in capitulation, but in compromise. i believe that this bill is doing and norma standridge, not only to the body politic -- is doing you norma savage -- en ormous damage, not only to the body politic. we, this is not some club. this is the congress of the united states of america, the most powerful nation on this planet. [applause] we can take care of all of the people. poor children in rural areas ira present -- i will never turn my back on them. i will never turn my back on children and the urban poor. it is speaker, i object to this bill. because this bill is not just going to create tension among us, but the people of this country who depend on us. they depend on us. it is not like they can go to an alternative body to address
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their concerns. anything, it is about trying to take care of these people. that is why we are here. i suffer from vertigo. the only way i can stop from wiggling around and fainting when i get dizzy with vertigo is to keep my eyes on something that does not move. i get frustrated and dizzy being in this body. the only way i can stand up and keep my eyes on something that does not move -- the thing that does not move are the people of the united states, particularly those who are hurting. my mind is going to stay right there on people who do not move. we have, the wounded, got to make sure we take care of everybody in this country, mr. speaker. i will not, i shall not, i cannot be silent as we continue to divide the nation and then we think we are doing something good because we are able to say
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something nasty to somebody. the people of this country deserve better. we deserve better. people oner attacked the basis of their party or their ideology. and i will not do it. i will not do it. but i will not abandon this right. i will not abandon the things i keep my eyes on. i will not support this bill. in rural people counties that ira present -- i represent. a rural county that has greater poverty than jackson county, where kansas city sits. this is not about trying to system that kind of we put in place to protect the rural areas. i am concerned about the rural areas. i was born in texas.
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my daddy said my mother to college in eighth-grade. i never lived in a house with indoor plumbing until i was eight years old. i lived in public housing. my daddy struggled. , my daddytle help sent for children through college. out of public housing. my daddy lives in his own house right now. for, inle are asking some cases just little help. just a little help. who can they turn to? pray,, i actually even that it is the united states congress. [applause] >> without objection. the gentleman's time will be charged. the gentleman will state his
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inquiry. [inaudible] correct.eman is four and a half minutes. the gentleman from massachusetts. >> mr. speaker, a parliamentary inquiry. so four and a half minutes total for all the unanimous consent request? >> seven and a quarter. >> 7.25 minutes have been retired -- charged to us for unanimous consent requests? i think everybody stayed in the limit, maybe with a little exception. i would ask unanimous consent that our time be reinstated. >> the gentleman -- is there an objection? >> there is an objection. the gentleman from massachusetts. >> speaker. move, i would like to appeal
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the ruling of the chair. >> there is a ruling before the house at this time. , mr.rliamentary inquiry speaker. >> the gentleman from maryland is recognized. >> thank you. would it be in order to move a time not bethe as the to mr. mcgovern representative of the ranking member of the rules committee. cantion be in order that we vote on? would that be in order? there is not an appropriate motion on that topic. >> mr. speaker?
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>> the gentleman from maryland. >> further parliamentary inquiry . >> the gentleman will state his inquiry. >> i am reluctant to move something the speaker has been advised is not available to us. on the other hand, this is an issue, under my parliamentary inquiry, i asked my friend the chairman of the rules committee if he might reconsider his objection. there are very strong feelings on this bill. this bill was not noted for consideration until last night. this bill comes to the floor hours of than 12 preparation. i understand that the gentleman's view, it would seem not so much because it is the rule but because it is fair, there are strong, deeply held feelings. i would urge my friend to withdraw his objection.
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we are talking about five or six or seven, i do not know how much time he took, minutes so we can have the full 30 minutes of debate on the rule itself. i would ask my friend if you will consider that. .> mr. speaker, i object >> i reserve the balance of my time. >> the gentleman from texas is recognized. >> thank you. to the gentleman, the minority whip, i would encourage him to please recognize that his request to me as my dear friend, the gentleman mr. mcgovern, as we stated last night in the rules committee, i would encourage you to please offer me an opportunity to explain not just the position but what i believe is the intent owh
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are attempting to do. speaker, in the vote that was held for the farm bill, 171 republicans voted for it, 62 republicans voted against it. 200, i amrm bill, sorry, 24 democrats voted for it. 172 voted against it. this meant the farm bill did not pass. it did not pass this body. as a result of the significance of the underlying legislation of the farm bill that does include provisions related to snap, the republican leadership up to and including the speaker of the house, the gentleman from ohio, and the majority leader, the gentleman from virginia, felt it was very important for this body to as quickly as we return to
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offer a bill that could be help -- hopehe that could be passed and analysis of that bill. helped tomocrats pass the previous bill. we are attempting to then separate, bifurcate, offer today a rule and the underlying legislation which hopefully will pass, which would go to senate,ce and the because they have passed their own farm bill, has included in provisions where they discuss snap. as a result of that, that will be included in their bill. on a conference measure. point,se simply at this if we pass this part, could go
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to conference, could go to conference and would be without resolution. would not have passed an amendment or a piece which would discuss it. is,n essence, my contrary your conferees, that would include the gentleman from minnesota, mr. peterson, as well as mr. lucas from oklahoma, would go to the conference without resolution from this body. that is all we are talking about. it is fully debatable under the conference. we simply would not have made a decision to change existing law. and the change in existing law would mean that the senate conferees could stick to their the $4n and hold
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billion, and we would not have a position to cut a penny. believe that this is an honest go,mpt to get us to bypassing part of the farm bill to get to conference. the tactics against that are simply to keep us from going to conference, and where we would show up with whatever we pass. if i have overstated this or understated this, i would whip toe the minority please engage me in a colloquy at this time. i would yield to the gentleman on the substance of what i have spoken about to feel free to enlighten me and for us to work through this very important issue. i would yield to the gentleman. >> i think my friend for yielding.
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this side of the aisle believe the passage of the farm bill is very important. it is important for our agriculture workers, our farmers. we believe it is important for those who are relying on nutritional programs and support from us. we share the view and are strongly in favor of the view of passing a farm bill. would tell the gentleman, as he well knows, the farm bill for the past two years has passed out of the committee with a majority of democrats and may be unanimous, but certainly the overwhelming majority of republicans. it passed out last year as a bipartisan bill and was not brought to the floor. it was not brought to the floor because of the controversies on your side, not our side of the isle. mr. peterson, to whom the gentleman referred, the chairman of the committee, was in support of the farm bill. indicated he
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thought there would be sufficient democrats to republicans to pass the farm bill. quite frankly, as the gentleman articulated, we lost 62 votes on your side. notwithstanding the fact you adopted three amendments during the course of consideration of the farm bill that mr. peterson advised to would undercut the ability to support the bill. frankly, i tell my friend that what has happened, the farm bill was a bipartisan bill supported by a majority of democrats in the committee, as the gentleman knows. and by the ranking democrat, mr. peterson. it came to the floor, however, and the partisanship was undermined by the amendments adopted. i think that was to the knowledge, certainly of mr. lucas. i know mr. lucas alluded that was undermined.
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ourselves in a position, and i understand with the gentleman said trying to get the conference, where there was little or no discussion, certainly not with me, and not with leader pelosi, about how we could move forward creating a greater bipartisan coalition. clearly recognizing there was opposition in your party, opposition in our party. the way this could have passed in a constructive way, in my view, would have been to have reached a bipartisan compromise. unfortunately, as is too frequently the case, we have to, frome we have gone my perspective, an ultra- partisan resolution to try to pass this bill. and presumably pick up a number 62.he you will need a substantial number of the 62. we do not believe, as you can tell, that this is a process we can support. it is unfortunate, because the
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gentleman is correct. i respect the gentleman's observation. it is important to pass the farm bill. , we havehalf a century passed a farm bill in a bipartisan fashion with consideration for the nutrition of people in our country. to make sure those without food -- .> reclaiming my time >> the gentleman reclaims. >> i would encourage the gentleman to still stand. we are now here at a point on the floor where we are rightly or wrongly attempting to be forthright and honest about what is in the bill and what are intense are. i would hope the gentleman would recognize that what we have carefully done is excluded some extraneous pieces which might
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things thated the would cause the bill of sale -- to fail and would not allow us, because we come to know decision therein of the house, that we could not pass the final bill. is takeare trying to do this to conference without any decision thereon. that is not an indication of a lack of willingness on the part of the republican leadership or any of our republican members. it simply says, we could not come to a decision at this point . what we are trying to do was move forward so we can get the conference. the gentleman, i hope, does recognize that the senate has spoken. theconferees would be at table and simply would not have a position.
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in no way would it mean it could not be discussed or could not be done. so i would encourage the gentleman to understand that current law would prevail. the current law would prevail because we have come to know decision therein. i reserve my time. >> i want everybody who may be watching this or in your shot to understand that when house of representatives cannot pass a farm bill, we have reached a new low. >> the house is not in order. >> house will come to order. >> the reverence in which we hold our farmers is so strong that the farm bill could almost be part of the pledge of allegiance. i want to point out to you that this is the second time that this house is owing to likely not -- is going to be likely not to be able to pass a farm bill. i know i do not have to point out to my constituents on both sides of the aisle that these program,raham -- snap
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school lunch program, meals on wheels, what we do to feed people in this country is also a farm program. that is where the food comes from. when you take those programs away, you also heard the farmers -- hurt the farmers. we had an attempt here to defend the program. -- defund the program. i do not trust the majority with trying to do something about the bill. i make the prediction, if they decide to bring up the nutrition program as a freestanding bill, ,here is not a chance anywhere better stated that way, that it could possibly pass the house. simply because we have a lot of explaining this morning. we were told the fact the nutrition program was out of it would not be construed by the american people as that they are opposed to feeding people. just that they thought it was
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extraneous matter to deal with in some other way. is for alledy that of us who have to go back home and tried to explain to people we represent that this house, the most dysfunctional house in history, spending $25 million a week to operate the house of representatives, that our biggest trick is to pass the bill that we know from the outset will never see the light of day. almost all of them have the statements of the administration policy. no way in the world would the president signed a bill like this. enough already. enough. we have disgraced ourselves before the country, disgraced ourselves in front of the world. if we are raising a generation of children right now who have not been adequately -- may i have one more minute? >> 30 seconds. >> i will just end up this way. i have never seen anything in this dysfunction.
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i really am embarrassed to say today that trying to feed people could be a reason why they would top the farm bill. it has been a bipartisan bill and has gone through like a hot knife through butter ever since we started doing farm bill's in the united states. this is the lowest of the low. when we cannot pass this, you know, ladies and gentlemen, that they cannot run the house. i yield back. >> the gentleman from texas is recognized. >> thank you. i am here to tell you that the opportunity for the rules committee to foot the bill -- put the bill on the floor as we did several weeks ago resulted in 172 democrats voting against the bill. which meant that it did not make it out of the house. that is why we are here today. we are here today because -- we are here today because the bill did not pass.
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my party and our friends, the democrats, did not supply enough votes to make sure it would move forward. -- my party is here trying to make sure we get a second shot at passing the farm bill. that is what we intend to do. i reserve my time. >> the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized. >> mr. speaker, let me say that the reason we do not support the farm bill is because the farm bill would throw 2 million of our fellow citizens out of the food stamp program. the farm bill should not be making more people hungry in america. [applause] i yield 30 seconds. >> i want to say to my friend, -- 62ason the farm bill of your people will not support
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mr. lucas. you adopted three amendments that undercut poor people in america. [applause] so your response, your response has been to abandon them altogether so you could get those votes back. isn't that a shame? i yield back. [applause] >> the gentleman will be reminded to address remarks to the chair, not to other members of the body. >> mr. speaker, as has previously been stated, it is the intent of the republican leadership and this majority to have a bill that will be available and ready that can pass on what might be considered the snap portions of this farm
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bill. what we are trying to do today is to pass this bill on the farm portions. it is a fair opportunity to take up the bill exactly as we were several weeks ago on debate, on the rule, and on the things the past this house, for the will of the has to have its say. that is what we are attempting to do today. i reserve my time. frome gentleman massachusetts is recognized. >> i ask unanimous consent to include reauthorization of the snap program without any cuts to current policy, he same language as the chairman of the rules committee promised. i would not yield for that purpose. , at this point it is my privilege to yield one minute to the gentleman -- ms.lewoman from california,
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pelosi. >> recognized for one minute. >> thank you very much. mr. speaker, i think the gentleman for yielding and for his tremendous leadership on behalf of beating the american people. it seems a very fundamental thing. the american people. it seems a very fundamental thing. a very important priority for all of us, except maybe not in this house of representatives. i want to thank hundreds woman -- congresswoman delauro. i rise today and thank them over and over again, to once again thank the congressional black caucus. when they came to the floor today to speak in the manner that they did against this legislation and for values that our country shares, about being a community, they spoke not just for the congressional black caucus, for their constituents, they spoke for america. they spoke for america. [applause]
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they have thought this fight over and over again. the inference to be drawn from their leadership on this is not that the black community is a community that benefits from food stamps. some people in the community do. overwhelmingly the people in your districts, rural america, people in rural america who really need us to pass this legislation. you are taking food out of the mouths of your own poor constituents. poverty in america, poverty, i am saying the word on the floor of the house, poverty, poverty, poverty, poverty, poverty in america seems to be a word that people get nervous about. poverty in america. among our children, it is something shameful, but it is a reality. it has an impact on children. to have the uncertainty in their
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lives that poverty brings. when that poverty says to those children, one in four of you are going to sleep hungry tonight, that is just wrong. it is wrong for america. it is not consistent with our values. it does not represent the sense of community that makes america strong. that makes america great. so -- [applause] the distinguished chair of the caucus, marcia fudge, mr. cleaver, mr. conyers, are distinguished -- are distinguished leader, all our colleagues on the cbc, i cannot name all of you. you have all been out there on the forefront of this. our democracy is as strong as we are as a people. the backboneass is of america. the aspirations of all americans to become part of the middle- class is what we should be
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addressing in congress. what are we doing? 190 days we have been in this session, and no jobs bill yet. the leadership of your publican party says they want regular order. they want regular order. they passed a budget bill over three months ago. the senate passed a budget. regular order would be to go to conference, get rid of the sequestration, the sequester, and proceed with a bill that invests in america, invests in innovation in america. builds the infrastructure, creates jobs, and does so in a way that builds community. strengthens the middle-class, grows our economy with jobs. the distinguished leadership of this republican party said they want regular order, and they have respect for their committee. well, the agriculture committee in a bipartisan way, in a bipartisan way past a bill out
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of the committee. i did not like the bill. it would not have been a bill i would have written. havef republicans leadership, democrats cooperated, a bipartisan bill came out of committee. the rumor was, and i guess it was just a rumor, that then they would respect that bill and they could come out with a bipartisan bill and it would be taken up on the floor. , as little have here we know about it because it emerged in the middle of the night, bears no resemblance to the bill that came out of committee. actions of the republican leadership have been disrespectful to the committee process. so do not hand us the regular order argument. off thecity to split nutrition parts of this bill is so stunning that it would be shocking, except this is -- i
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would say it is one of the worst things you have done, but there is such stiff competition for that honor that i cannot really fully say that. out of theke food mouths of babies and prevent a bill going forward that addresses our food banks and nutrition needs in the rest of our country, what are you thinking? what are you thinking -- or are you thinking? [applause] cbc, fort thank you, your leadership on this. i thank you, jim mcgovern, all of you. this is a fight you are making for every person in america, to live in a country of values. include ourat faith. our faith tells us that to minister to the needs of god's creation is an act of worship. to ignore those needs, as this bill does, is to dishonor the
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god who made us. this is very wrong. even in this place, this crosses a threshold that we should never go past. should never go past. this is totally out of the question. [applause] i am a mom. one of the reasons why i am involved in politics is i see it as an extension of my role as a mother of five kids. now many grandchildren, god bless them. but what drove me to this was that i saw all of my kids -- all my kids had, all the opportunity, the love, the rest of it. i thought, the best thing we can all do is to make sure our children, for their own welfare, grow up in a country where all of america's children were treated with respect as we meet their needs. that is just not happening here today. i call upon our friends in the faith community.
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they are here on this issue, as well as most of the farmers and all the rest. there is nobody outside this body who supports this bill who cares about the values that we all profess to have vote no on this rule. [applause] tomembers are again reminded address their remarks to the chair, not to other members of the body. the gentleman from texas is recognized.
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>> the republican leadership and a republican membership has great respect for men and women who have fallen on hard times. we have great respect for the millions of people who have lost their jobs. the speaker of the house is not in order. >> the gentleman from texas controls the time. the house will be in order. >> we have great respect for the many people who have lost their jobs and continue to lose their jobs, full-time jobs that have gone to part-time jobs. we recognize that our country is facing very difficult times, and more difficult each and every day. it is our hope through this bill, and a falling opportunity, to make sure that go directly to the conference and meet with the senate.
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attemptingt we are to do today. for members to insure that we get to a conference with a complete part of this bill, that is why we are here today and will be here in the immediate future, and i reserve the balance of my time. >> the gentleman from texas reserves. but i would like to ask unanimous consent to insert in the record a letter from the president of the american farm bureau federation in opposition to this bill. >> i would like to yield three minutes to the gentlewoman from connecticut. >> of 04 this bill is a vote to end nutrition programs in america. members on the other side of the
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aisle have already expressed that this morning. imagine referring to the nutrition titles of the farm bill as extraneous. extraneous. dealing with hunger. dealing with people who have fallen on those hard times. dealing with their food insecurity and they are being hungry and it's going to bed hungry every night in this nation is extraneous. that says it all. that tells you where their values are. before we consider the content of this legislation, take a minute to review what just has happened. shortly before 8:00 p.m. last that the majority posted a bill on line, announced the meeting to consider the bill. oft violated their own rule allowing least three days to review legislation. i have a copy of the bill right
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here. this is the bill. 608 pages. have my colleagues read all of the 608 pages? have they taken the time to know what is in it? did they understand that in 2014, in fact, what they have done bats to the deficit? no, instead we are recklessly pushing forward this partisan bill designed to inflict great harm. even more pernicious is the substance of this bill. which froze millions of american families aside. this removes the entire nutrition title from the farm bill, with no indication that the majority intends to take those programs in the near future. let's be clear about what this means. food stamps are the critical central span of our social safety -- social safety net. helping over 47 million americans, nearly half of them
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are children. 75% of households receiving this aid included child, a senior citizen, or an individual with a disability. ande are the individuals the people that this republican majority has just called extraneous. they are not extraneous. the bill before us would mean the death knell of the food stamp program. the another nutrition programs that have been part of the farm bill for decades -- the other nutrition programs. this bill is immoral and is a serious risk to our society. 532 former said the speaker a letter opposing the splitting off of food programs. other religious leaders wrote a letter calling food stamps one of the most effective and important federal programs to combat hunger in the nation.
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a crucial part of the farm bill, relieving pressure on an overwhelmed perishes, cherries, food banks, pantries, and other emergency food providers. and yet this bill provides the way to gut the food stamp program. >> can the gentleman yield any further time? >> buckfield additional 15 seconds. >> historically the parkville has been a safety net for farmers and families. it is enjoyed by -- has enjoyed bipartisan support up until now, until this majority has rent that support asunder. a vote for the bill is a vote in nutrition programs in america. it takes food out of the mouths of hungry children, seniors, veterans, disabled. these people are not extraneous. i urge my colleagues to reject this bill.
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>> the u.s. believes it will reach an agreement with afghanistan that will allow and thestay there combat mission is. later, the change in the filibuster rules. we will hear from leaders harry reid and mitch mcconnell. talk with congressman tom price of order about the obama administration's portion of the health-care law. then the tennessee congressman joins us to discuss immigration legislation and other items on the congressional agenda. we will discuss early education priorities. plus your phone calls and e-
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mails each morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. vital thatsolutely we identify our enemy correctly. because it is very, very hard to find someone that you do not identify correctly. these attacks on our homeland and other such as the 2005 london bombing have been connected by a common motivation and a singular purpose. the underwear bomber, the times square attempt, the tsarnaev brothers, major assange, who announced that for good that he was killing in the name of allah. the murder of free, innocent people who they regard as infidels in order to accomplish their goal. >> let me speak about social media and the old adage that you cannot establish a relationship during a crisis. we have a significant budget is significant presence on social media.
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we have engaged not only in a one-way communication but in a dialogue with the community about all sorts of issues, day in and day out. we use social media within minutes after the blast to inform people as to where they could go, what happened, where they could meet loved ones. we used social media to tamp down the upset in the community. at 10:00 a.m. eastern. former education secretary bill bennett questions, is college worth it? saturday at 8:45. the actors on history, roosevelt, taft, wilson, and the u.s. marines fight the banana wars. sunday at 1:00. state department representative for afghanistan testified that the obama administration is pursuing a range of options regarding u.s. troop levels in the country
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after 2014. this hearing is two hours. host: caller: >> good morning. assessing -- this hearing assessing afghanistan will come to order. this hearing comes none too soon, with 63,000 u.s. troops
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still based their, the upcoming political and security transitions and would 14 just around the corner, now is the time to take stock our efforts and make any necessary changes. most importantly, given recent speculation about our intentions, this means the united states needs to make clear once again that we are committed to a long-term partnership with afghanistan. let me be clear, because i believe this is a fundamental point. as long as the afghan people and their government want the united states as a partner, we do not intend to leave afghanistan alone. our goal, are clear intent, is to stay committed with both security and civilian assistant's post 2014.
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i know center corker heard on his travels to the region just last week. as president obama has said repeatedly, the u.s. is planning on leaving behind u.s. force presence to support the afghan security forces if the afghan government wants it. workable,ed a bilateral security agreement acceptable to the united states. president karzai must now decide whether his government is willing to accept a longer-term u.s. troop presence like coming back to the negotiating table with acceptable terms. the ball is in his court. but he and the afghan people should understand that if we fail to reach an agreement, it will not be for lack of trying on of america's in. i believe president obama should signal to the afghans and our allies what the post won 14 u.s. troop presence will look like,
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governed by security agreement. the lack of clarity has led to too much hedging in the region. afghans who may otherwise be interested in building a fledgling democracy and want to know they will not be abandoned by the united states as the taliban claims that will be. these are the very afghan allies we need. those committed to democracy. seniorlike the most afghan female police officer in helmand province, who survived three death attempts by her own brother for in listing, and it was tragically shot dead last week. afghans like her are counting on us to support a successful and includes a political transition next year so the country does not return to civil war. i want to reiterate that from my perspective, the ball is in president karzai's hands. i hope he doesn't think this is a question of simply leverage
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for him. if he does, then he is sadly mistaken. the other most important piece of this puzzle is getting the 2014 elections right, because ultimately, it is the political transition that will determine whether we have a successful security and economic transition. i am very pleased with senate resolution 151 passed this week, urging the afghan government to ensure transparent and credible elections. many of us here in congress are concerned that the window for establishing the framework is closing. there's little time left to get processle free election off the ground. delays in approving new intellectual laws, complaints commission in supreme court could undermine the entire process. afghan political stakeholders will come together and agree to
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fare rules governing the elections to ensure that the process and outcome are accepted by all parties. now it's time for the united states, united nations and all our allies to speak with one unified voice about what is really at stake here. we must convince the afghan people that have incredible and fair elections on april 5, 2014, is our number one priority in afghanistan. president karzai should understand in clear terms that his legacy of leaving behind a stable afghanistan that is supported by the international community will be in serious jeopardy with a flawed election outcome. already the obama administration has requested $3.40 billion in the well in assistance for afghanistan in 2014, more than it has requested for any other nation, bringing total aid to about $20 billion. before congress approves additional funding, we need to know that the afghan government is serious about holding
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credible elections in april 2014, and of holding the reform commitments it made in tokyo last year. congress also needs to hear from the obama administration about how it -- about serious problems raised for afghanistan reconstruction. many of our programs have raise quality of life for many afghans, but some of them are ironically working against our collective interest. i am baffled that the pentagon purchased about $800 million worth of aircraft, including 30 russian helicopters when the afghan air unit lacks basic capacity to operate them. i am skeptical about some of our programs relating to counter narcotics and rule of law efforts in afghanistan. as we brought down in afghanistan and move to third- party monitoring aversive billion assistance program, this committee wants assurances from the state department and defense
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department that they are making real oversight reforms as laid makingothers that are oversight a priority during and after the transition. with billions at stake, we cannot afford to keep doing business as usual. there are a lot more areas i would like to cover including pakistan's role in the transition, but for now i will say that for the questions and answers and turned to senator corkeron who has just returned from the region for his own opening statement. chairman, thank you for calling this hearing. that int to say appreciate working with you. think it has always been the hope that foreign policy and partisanship, that those kind of .ssues dissipate i think the way we work together on this committee has demonstrated that and i am very much appreciate your comments.
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i will take a slightly different take, but i think your concerns about afghanistan and pakistan are similar, and i look forward to working with you this week. i want to thank the witnesses today, but the first and second panel. we have a little bit of an issue that has arisen that will be brewing next week. at 11:00 and likely to be gone, but i know that we had a briefing earlier this week and we have had a chance to talk with you all. i know the second panel is made up of people that i very much respect and if i miss you, i apologize. i want to say that this last week i have spent a good part of the day in south>> on the other side of the and salt the road raise and dams that we are
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building with u.s. dollars rejects all the roadways and dams that we are building with u.s. dollars in an area that not very long ago was the center of al qaeda activities. i saw the benefits of that. there's no question that bringing civilization to that part and the chance for economic growth certainly changes the dynamic. i know the chairman was involved in that and others have been. as admiralr hand, mullen testified here two years for a fact that the intelligence arm of the pakistani military is helping coordinate directly activities qqani network in afghanistan, that they are conducting high-profile activities that are designed to
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kill and maim americans and destabilize the country. and we know that. a say to the to become you have a difficult job. it is complex. you.say to the two of we have to rectify that problem. , i have a ahead feeling is the chairman is going to be looking at those issues in a similar light. thise have got to rectify bipolar activity that is taking place that is not in our u.s. interest. down the road to have a feeling we are going to be worried about pakistan being a stable country, and a country with a lot of nuclear weapons, a mobile launchers, certainly that is a problem. let me move to afghanistan.
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i am going to say some things that are a little bit out of my character. i think everybody knows over the next six months it is it is between now it is a very important time in afghanistan. we knowteral agreement needs to be done by october. i know that you all are working towards that end. i know that you know the elections being free and fair, generally speaking, for afghanistan, is something that is very important and there are people there on the ground on both sides trying to make that happen. though, hastration, tremendous difficulty making decisions. this administration has multiple voices within it to keep it from having clarity. i have to tell you, as the chairman mentioned, i think the administration has got to quit looking at its naval and make a
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forceon on what the structure is going to be in afghanistan. capital outflows from afghanistan are increasing dramatically, which is causing the economy to be less than it could, because we have yet to state what we are going to do, generally speaking, as it relates to force structure. i know we won't do anything if we don't end up with a bilat, but we have to go ahead and tell the people in afghanistan what we are going to do, generally speaking, as it relates to force structure. this continued looking at our naval, trying to make a decision, having competing forces at the white house is hurting us. it is hurting our efforts in afghanistan, hurting our military and our allies.
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is the most frustrating world leader we have probably dealt with in a long time. he is irrational. it is hard to believe that he believes the things that he believes, but he truly believes today that we are in cahoots with pakistan. in trying to destabilize the country, as crazy as that is, the fact that we spend hundreds of billions of dollars there. we have lost american lives and limbs. the fact that he today believes that somehow or another we are coordinating with pakistan to destabilize is almost beyond belief. but the reason he does is because he knows the facts that i just mention that we have known in this committee for a long time. i think he also believes -- i don't think he believes this
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with all his heart. i want to make this clear to anybody listening. i don't believe this. i think he believes there are some people within the administration that because of previous political issues almost want afghanistan to fail. i don't. he is a strange person. i will say, and this is a minor detail, i think we have helped create the kind of relationship that we have with him. since no one at the administration will talk with me about some of the questions i've asked about our support of him personally, i would not be surprised if we were supporting him personally prior to him even being president of afghanistan, but i think we have helped create a monster here. i will just say to the two of you, you have a tough job. i am speaking to the administration. i know that we have a tough and onficult person to deal with
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this bilateral agreement but i hope this administration is not going to personalize it. i know that karzai has embarrassed the president publicly by talking about the fact that he is working with pakistan to destabilize the country. administrations -- to look beyond karzai. and do the things that we need to do as a nation to support these outstanding men and women in uniform that have sacrificed life and limb, the taxpayers that have sacrificed precious dollars, and move on with this. i am very, very frustrated with this administration and its lack of ability to lead on this issue and to provide clarity. i hope your testimony helps us with that. i look forward to working with you. i thank you for being public
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servants. job,ow it is a frustrating dro but it is time to move on. we have jim dobbins and the acting secretary of defense for asian affairs. let me know that while the ambassador has only been on this particular job for two months, he was the first senior american civilian into afghanistan back in 2001, so he is no stranger to the region. i look forward to your testimony. i will ask you to summarize it in about five minutes or so so we can have a question and answer session. your entire statement will be included in the record. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman and ranking member.
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thank you for giving us an opportunity to appear before you. thank you for a constructive opening remarks and your advice, which we will certainly take to heart and make sure others in the administration are aware of. as you know, i have only been in my current position for couple of months. having come back essentially to the same job i had 12 years ago , with respect to afghanistan just after 9/11. this may be a somewhat different perspective than those of you have been falling afghanistan from day to day. we tend to look at the efficacy of our efforts in afghanistan day to day, project by project, measuring it largely in terms of inputs and outputs. the true measure of our efforts in afghanistan is not that but rather the outcomes. the best measure of education is
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literacy rates. the best measure of help assistance is increases in longevity. it takes a long time to measure outcomes like this, but we have been in afghanistan and helping afghanistan for a long time now. the measures of this sort, outcome measures, and on the basis of some research i completed with some colleagues just a few months before taking up my current job, i believe afghanistan may be the most successful international effort reconstruction in a conflict or's conflict country in the last quarter-century. in a study we did at the rand corporation, we looked at 20 cases over the last 25 years. there was civil military interventions in a's conflict environment.
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we tried to measure the outcomes in these efforts over 10 years. using statistics and indices that were kept by freedom house, the imf, and world bank. afghanistan rated quite high on most of those indexes, but remarkably, in the category of human development, it showed the best rate of improvement of all 20 of these countries. human development as an index measures a combination of health, education, and standard of living outcomes. rated top afghanistan of all 20. others for actually poor, and is not just because a dollar a lot of assistance. what does this mean in practical terms? in afghanistan means life expectancy has gone from 44-60 years.
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what does it mean in terms of literacy? it means afghanistan has gone from having the worst rate of literacy in the entire world, 33%e 15% back in 2001, to literacy today and to 60% literacy by 2025 if the kids that are in school today stay in school. it means going from one tv station to 75, nearly all independent tv stations. these are pretty remarkable outcomes. taken as a whole, they may be unmatched outcomes in a conflict are's conflict society. .his is a pivotal time nato and the u.s. are transitioning from a combat to an advisory assistance role. as both of you stressed, the u.s. is committed to continuing
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to support a fully sovereign, democratic and united afghanistan. we do not intend to repeat the mistakes made in the 1980's and 1990's. we remain committed to a long- term strategic partnership with the afghan government and the afghan people. as the president said in january, along with president karzai, the u.s. has two goals, to train and assist afghan forces so they can maintain security, and number two, making sure we can continue to go after remnants of al qaeda or its affiliates. at the nato defense ministerial in june this year, nato allies and partners had a detailed concept of that new mission for afghanistan after 2014. regarding the number of american troops remaining in afghanistan, that is to say the number of trips that would remain 18 months from now, the president is still reviewing his options. the same time more continuing our conversation with the afghans about how we can carry
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out those missions. we have made significant progress on the text of a new bilateral security agreement. without agreement on our presence in afghanistan, we would not remain, but we do not believe that is the likely outcome of these negotiations. unlike iraq, to which comparisons are often made, the afghans actually need us to stay. most afghans want us to stay, and we have promised to stay. none of these three things were true in iraq and all are true with respect to afghanistan. while we continue to help afghans take responsibility for their own security, we also continue to support an afghan own reconciliation process designed to find political solutions to conflict with the taliban. at the same time, we must declare that our main priority for the coming year is neither the military transition nor the reconciliation process, but rather the political transition
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that will occur when afghan people choose a new president and the new president takes office next year. the future stability of afghanistan rests on the peaceful transition of political party. of 2014.urse if this occurs, then i believe these other problems and challenges will resolve themselves quite satisfactorily. the first deaths in this process are already under way. we will continue to work with the afghan government to support their electoral process and achieve a successful and unifying political transition. like any developing country emerging from conflict, afghanistan will require international support for some time. a country that has -- we should, however, recognize that a country that a little more than a decade ago provided a haven from which the 9/11 attacks were planned as already become a
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staunch partner in the fight against international terrorism. there is much the afghan people can be proud of and we can be proud of in the work we have done over the last decade and more. thank you, mr. chairman, members of the committee. i look forward to your questions. >> members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to discuss with you today the present status and future course of our military engagements in afghanistan. it is an honor to be here with ambassador dobbins to discuss both the significant progress we are making and the very real challenges in continue to face in the country. our fundamental objectives in afghanistan have not changed. our goal remains to deny safe havens to al qaeda and its affiliates and to deny the taliban the ability to overthrow
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the afghan government. due to the dedication and hard work and sacrifices of our forces, our coalition partners, and the afghan security forces and population, we have made significant progress in -- and events in those objectives. today the afghan people have greater economic opportunity, reuter access to health care, better and more education, and more freedoms and individual rights, especially for women, than ever before. as committed to in chicago last year and reaffirmed at the presidential summit this january, the afghan national security forces last month took the lead country by to provide security to the people of afghanistan. this important milestone also signaled a shift in the international security assistance forces primary mission from combat to ansf.ing the
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demonstrates the capability and result of the afghan army and police to secure their people and their nation. it also enables the u.s. and other isaf nations to continue reducing the presence of their combat forces. the 2013 security milestone and final tranche of the transition process will lars de -- marchetti fulfillment of the pledges are leaders mate in lisbon and chicago. the ansf are being tested this fighting season but are performing admirably. they now plan conduct the overwhelming majority of combat operations and are also taking the vast majority of casualties. despite heavy fighting, they are holding the gains of recent years and the taliban must come to grips with the fact that they cannot defeat the afghan national security forces
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militarily. the u.s. is transitioning in afghanistan, not leaving. we are on track to bring the isaf mission to close by the end of 2014. and transition to operation resolute support, a new mission under a nato umbrella. beyond this nato mission, the u.s. also plans to conduct a narrowly focused counter- terrorism mission. the u.s. and afghanistan are already negotiating a bilateral security agreement to provide the necessary framework to support the president's budget the presence of u.s. forces to accomplish this. nato is also preparing to negotiate such a framework with afghanistan. all the u.s. has not made a decision on the size of the post-2014 military presence, are planning an ultimate u.s. presence will be guided by number of factors. to include progress toward the
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core goal of defeating al qaeda in the region, second, the potential for peace talks between afghan government and the taliban, third, continued progress with the ansf. politicalghanistan's transition centered on the elections in april 2014. fifth, the original setting, and finally, including the u.s. afghan agreement. we will keep congress informed presencest-2014 u.s. decisions and developments in other areas. this is a critical time for our shared effort in afghanistan. after more than a decade of war and tremendous sacrifices by the people of the united states, we the process for peace
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and stability in afghanistan. thank you for your continuing support and to our men and women in uniform, without which none of this would be possible. thank you, and i look forward to enter new questions. >> thank you both for your testimony. there is a lot of ground to cover here, so let me start. ambassador dobbins, we seem to have spent an enormous amount of time in this reconciliation effort. i am not sure the taliban karzai government leaving next year, looking at the reduction of international forces, really believes that it is the right negotiating moment for them. in trying to understand, we hear
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very little about our efforts with the elections. we have a witness from our second panel who flew in from afghanistan, for which we are very grateful. i was reading his testimony. he has a series of items that are critical towards elections that are ultimately fair, transparent, and for which there is the confidence of the afghan people as we move forward, which is a longer-term process that will be a critical part of any reconciliation effort that as you described, is led by the afghans at the end of the day. what are we doing to ensure these elections are taking place in a successful way? in 2009, we appointed a senior official to coordinate support for the elections at the embassy in kabul, to signify how
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important a priority this was to the united states. why don't we do this again? >> on the reconciliation issue, we are determined to move forward on this in lockstep with the government of afghanistan. the objective here is not for us to negotiate peace in afghanistan. the object is is for us to promote an afghan process between the insurgency and the government and the high peace council the government has formed to address these issues. we don't expect it to progress quickly. we are not sure it will start at all over the next year. we are certainly not going to let it distract us from these other priorities, as you correctly suggest. the united states revoked state and aid financing todrawing -- a large effort
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fund but the election process in terms of the machinery and beat it out the vote type education progress -- process that can assist ensuring that this is a satisfactory election. i am sure the embassy is devoting a great deal of attention to this. the facts. i know that we have money to subscribe. my problem is that do not get the sense that in our focus in afghanistan, that one of our critical focuses is getting the afghan government to make the appointments to the election commission, to make the other appointments to the supreme
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court, to create a structure that all the money in the world bringing out the vote will not guarantee unless we have a structure at the end of the day that can have disputes settled in a fair, honest, transparent way. so are we engaging through our embassy there, for your own representation with president karzai to make it crystal clear that it is very important to make these appointments, that we will look at this as part of our overall assistance, because from my perspective, if we don't have elections that are fair and transparent, we will have a huge challenge in addition to the security question ahead. think we have lost sight of that as a major part of what we should be doing. >> i grew to entirely. .> that is not good news the question is, how we change the course here? we are talking about april of
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next year. that is just months away. >> i think every time i have spoken to any audience on afghanistan, have made clear that among all of the major transitions taking place, this is most critical one. there are two pieces of legislation that are the critical inputs to creating the electoral commission a complaints commission that are currently in their element -- in their parliament. they are in the process of negotiation between the two houses. as you know, legislative processes are not subject to like lots which type influence. the president has said he will keep the parliament in session in order to get this legislation out. he has promised me and everyone , to sign this legislation
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as soon as it is out. >> i think there are appointments to be made. those are executive powers. we need to see those appointments bay. the legislative process at the end of the day. there are clear benchmark here that we are not reaching that awfully are going to provide a problem for us next april. i hope that i am wrong, but what we need is a fair and open, transparent election that all parties in afghanistan can openly believe that their future is dictated by an honest election. if we don't get that, then everything else we are talking about is going to fall apart. an article the washington post says the afghan army struggles with lack of reach. it talks about one commander or a realization by many commanders that part of afghanistan will probably remain in the enemy's
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hands. the talks about the challenge of that afghan army, after spending a small fortune trying to build this army, what are our -- ities to help them move have heard all the testimony. i honor their leading the fight and losing lives, but i am looking at what this article and other information suggests. it seems to me there are critical gaps here that even the most courageous soldiers in the afghan army and their commanders are going to face moving forward. are we looking at how we deal in a support role to helping the afghans be able to choose their own security? >> thank you for that question. it is a very important issue. i think the story of the afghan national security forces is really one of success. success.y a remarkable >> if you look back five or six years ago, there were only
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70,000 afghan national security forces. today there is an amount of somewhere over 340,000. as i said my prepared remarks, these forces are out there leading combat operation throughout the country. they are encountering a lot of resistance. they are taking a lot of casualties. but they are standing up to that resistance. they are a professional force that is getting the job done and doing a better job each and every day. therepecifically are gaps. yes, there are pre today that afghan national army and the police are not wholly self sustainable entities capable of doing everything. we are providing critical support and assistance to them
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that enables them to do their jobs. one of the most remarkable features in the last two years is the ability for the army and the police to do more and more of the job themselves. they are increasingly planning operations themselves, identifying where adversaries are, identifying threats to populations, and they are going after those threats successfully. they are clearing routes and providing for their own enabling capabilities. refine the biggest gas today is really at the ministerial level. thehe ministry of defense, ministry of the interior. they need a human capital strategy. they need to manage contracts, food, fuel, other logistics.
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policeafghan army and are increasingly capable operationally in getting the job done, the focus of our assistance is shifting now to higher echelons and to support that supportive structure. he specifically asked, are they capable of getting out to parts of the country that is threatened by the insurgency? difficultn is a country to get around. the communication network is not very well established. .t is a mountainous country it is a challenge for any military force inside afghanistan to access the remote parts of the country. that is the challenge that the army and police will continue to face. we are working with them to improve their mobility so they can get out there, but that will be an enduring challenge that will face.
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senator corkeron. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i very much appreciate your line of question period that we say to the witnesses again, i do appreciate your public service. i know is also frustrating trying to solve a problem when we have an administration that has had such difficulty making that decision and providing clarity. help theu guys can administration soon have some clarity and make a decision, but i thank you for your work. mr. chairman, you mentioned the election. the chiefdown with election officer and i know you have worked with him. i just want to ask the witnesses, is there any question that as people began to hedge their bets because they do not yet know what our force
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structure is going to be and what kind of commitments we and nato are going to make. is there any question that the hedging is taking place, the capital outflows that are are in the u.s. interest at present? >> i think it is important to reassure afghans that we are committed to that long, -- long-term security, stability, and prosperity. we have gone a long way in doing that. the decision is still 18 months away and we will probably know more about what is necessary once we get through this fighting season with the afghans in the league. we will know what they need and what they don't need. but take your point, it is certainly a valid argument.
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on the election process, just to go back to what the chairman's question -- i mean, this is something the president has raised repeatedly with karzai, something the secretary raised when he was last in kabul. it is the only meeting he had outside of meetings with the government was on this topic. the main issue at the recent donors conference that took place in kabul, where they went through the various afghan performance and commitments, and the major emphasis in those discussions was on the importance of meeting the election targets to long-term assistance to the country. >> you pointed out that we really haven't formalized a structure to help make that happen. i have sat down with several of the people that may well run for president, and they are very concerned about the fact that we
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are not doing the things yet that we need to do to ensure that there is a free and fair election. that does exist, please by some standard that may be a little different than what we have here, it will be the greatest destabilizing thing that can occur. another question relative to the election. is people's perception about security within the country an important factor as to whether we will have a good election process? >> it will certainly be a factor may becomeere it difficult to vote. at the moment, the responsible afghan officials are pretty confident that they can maintain adequate security throughout the vast majority of the country to permit the election to go forward. so the answer is yes, it is a
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factor. i have not seen the latest statistics, but while they continue to be concerned about security, afghans continue to regard it as having improved. that is encouraging. they have remarkably high confidence in their quality and capabilities of their own armed forces. the pointe making that we need to assure them that our commitment to afghanistan's development and security is not a -- is an enduring one. >> in many ways that issue hopefully will be decided by the administration. the chairman mentioned the story read this morning about the capability of the afghan forces. all of you and everybody here that has looked at the charge
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realizes that the afghans are the ones taking most of the casualties. they are the ones that are out in front. there is a debate within the administration right now about force levels. toould like for mr. lavoy speak to this. one of the great factors, one of the great assets that nato is to the afghans right now is the issue of enabling them. be involved in all seven of those scores. right now appears the initiation is actively considering not providing the very few thousand -- maybe not even that many votes that would enable that to occur, and for the country to have much greater security for americansn after all
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have done over the last 11 years. i would like you to speak to the importance of our nato force structure, as we have the ability to have people scattered out throughout the country and enabling the afghans to secure their own country. >> that is a very important issue. earlier, thed afghan national army and police are capable of performing operations on their own, but we do continue to provide support to them to improve their effectiveness. objective is by 2015 for the afghans to have all the capabilities to be largely self- sufficient in all aspects of security. planning operations, conducting at the operations, withdrawing
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from operations successfully, doing all the other critical task. we are working very hard now to help them adopt and integrate those enabling capabilities inside the army and police structure today. that is a big challenge, as i indicated. six years ago there were only 70,000. the police have seen commensurate growth in adopting .ew qualitative aspects this is an ongoing process. i would agree that the coalition is providing essential support to become more sustainable and it a more self sufficient force. >> if for some reason that would , if we were toe
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try to just shave a little bit , the riskeason factors geometrically grow, do they not? >> i think as i indicated, the administration has a process in place where we will be doing periodic reviews of the .erformance of the ansf there is the political transition and other factors that are equally important. we will assess how well the nsf performs over the course of this fighting season. we will make assessments and the necessary adjustments so that have the capacity and the enabling capability to continue to perform admirably and provide that security for the population. >> i very much appreciate this timely hearing. i think is very timely. nothing decisions hopefully will
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be made soon. i think the lack of clarity is almost embarrassing. i want to thank the witnesses for being here. i know that you are public servants that are very well respected. thank you for giving us an opportunity to share our frustrations publicly. i want to assure you i have done it privately, also. thank you and i look forward to hopefully a good outcome. not onlyyou very much for being here, but for your service to our country. i want to follow-up on a couple of the questions that have been asked. i share the concern about clarity and transparency with the congress as we move forward towards the removal of our combat troops from afghanistan. election issues are very
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important. good governance is important. over the years, many of us have expressed concern, frustration about the corruption of the afghan government. we have seen over and over again, country's stability challenged and overthrown as a result of corrupt regimes. -- taking, in addition to the to improve thes, governance in afghanistan so that there is confidence among the people of afghanistan that they are being treated fairly, which gives us a better chance for a stable regime? the united states has contributed to that in the manner in which eight has been made available. what are we doing? can you assure us the way we have been proceeding will give us a better
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corruptioneduce the within the afghan government so we can have better governance as the united states transitions to the next stage of afghanistan? share your concerns about corruption. focus, to police and to strengthen the government. we have to recognize, first of all, that afghanistan is in central asia and when we about we need toorruption, note afghanistan has a more efficient system and pakistan. it puts it in a little bit of perspective. >> some of those comparisons are
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not the best. >> exactly. they are the worst. afghanistan was the poorest of those countries to start with. >> we should be able to have some impact on what legacy we leave to the people of afghanistan. >> i agree entirely with you. this is a problem we need to continue to work on. 10% of our total civilian strength in afghanistan is dedicated -- dedicated to oversight and accountability. of ours of effectiveness aid programs, i mentioned if
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you look at the levels of literacy and longevity, the projection of healthcare, education, the afghan government is providing services which have his darkly never been provided before in afghanistan, certainly not at current levels. despite the corruption, despite having no government at all 10 you have a government forming by regional standards, not badly. by standards, compared to other conflicts, among the best, in terms of delivery service and producing outcomes. that does not mean you are not right to keep harping on russian and keep insisting insisting we do more about it. >> or the afghan people who have .ore reasonable chance
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the corruption issue, i would point out i think we have not taken aggressive than us us during these years to give a better opportunity for good governance. there is economic opportunity. with the removal of , militarynal presence, that would have a major impact on the economy. what steps are being taken in order to provide economic opportunity for the people of afghanistan as we transition to the elimination of american combat troops? >> there is no doubt the in the military presence there will have an impact on the economy. the latest world bank assessment was that it would lead to a significant drop in positive
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growth. it is important the nonmilitary resistance flows continue beyond the departure date for most u.s. troops and that is one answer to your question. there is no doubt the afghan economy has undergone a considerable growth over the last decade. i think the increase in gdp for a per capita basis is 100%, which is substantial. afghanistan is growing at a , andcomparable to china that will probably continue. you will see some diminished in that growth. it will be important for our flowtance to continue to and the post-2014 time.
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>> i agree with the senator in regards to the need for the military security of afghanistan and i may come at it from a different position as to the need for american troops to be there. i think we both -- every member of this committee -- wants to see more clarity on how decisions are being made on troop levels as we go into this critical year. i urge the continued openness to this committee as the decisions are being made. americans expect afghanistan to take responsibility for his own country and we need to know what continued commission -- commitments are being made on behalf of america. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to dissociate myself from theremarks regarding clarity issue. i think it is critical not only for congress but for the
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american people to have a much better understanding, a higher level of understanding, than we do. having said that, those of us on this side have an important meeting at 11:00 this morning and it was called yesterday. that is unfortunate because this is a critically important issue. we will be watching the transcript of this as we go forward. i was hoping to hear at least part of panel two. in any event, i will yield back my time again. thank you for holding this hearing. we will review the transcript after we are done. >> thank you. senator casey. >> thank you. . welcome you thank you for your public service. i wanted to start by reiteration. harkening back to what the chairman said about elections and what happened in our committee as it relates to the resolution, which has been
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passed by unanimous consent in that you reconsider the position the administration took with regards to dedicating an and best door level person to monitor the elections and the to make a much greater commitment. if we do not have that kind of as itght or involvement, relates to the afghan elections, our strategy will be adversely impacted. that point ande we can develop it later. i want to start with a question as it relates to women and girls in afghanistan. progress ofendous girls going to school. -- more involvement,
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women in the afghan security forces. unfortunately, we have a great concern. a know just recently, lieutenant was assassinated. she joined the police force nine years ago when it was particularly risky to do so. that is a grave understatement. we have progress in some areas and setbacks, and an overarching concern is, when we draw down completely and our forces are out and the focus is elsewhere, that afghanistan will go back to notold ways where women are just marginalized but really targeted for discrimination and abuse and little effort will be undertaken to either maintain
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the gains or advance in the direction of more political participation and more in thement of women afghan national security forces. i have of that concern, introduced and got passed an amendment to the defense authorization act, which requires oath of your department state and defense to report on efforts to improve the recruitment of women as well as the retention of women in the afghan security forces. in addition, the report has to speak to efforts made to train mail security personnel on gender sensitivity. ask a two-part question for both of you. how do you assess progress on both of those measures, and when will the report be submitted?
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>> a general word. i will turn to peter on the more specific. we share your priority on the role of women and we agree there has been remarkable progress, particularly when you are changing the social mores of an entire society. .omen's equality is a problem i think we can take some satisfaction. there is danger of rollback and it is one of the reasons i have continued american commitment. it will continue to be important. let me turn to peter on more specific questions. >> thanks. let me also speak to your general issue. the role of women in the armed forces is a priority for us. a very positive development to observe, for the leadership of the military and the army and the police,
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incorporating more women and giving them more responsibility, and treating them with the same dignity and respect as other soldiers is a priority for that leadership. they are incorporating these norms and values in the leadership. i believe this will be sustainable going forward. the statistics are impressive. i hear -- have here that the afghan army is now with 400 women. the afghan police, over 1500 women now serving in the police. air force,, a small 44 women serving. the strides made to have the women there -- i have met a number of these women in afghanistan and they are some of the most adriatic, professional people in the country. that experience is showing people who come from that different mindset and cultural
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background that the role of women should be here to stay in afghanistan. it is important for afghans to recognize it. i believe this is taking place. your support and others have pushed us in this direction, the right direction, and it is working. you asked about this particular report. incorporating all the information you asked for in the broader 12:30 report on afghan national security forces. we have information coming up to you very quickly on when this will be handed over to you. minor standing is it will come up -- my understanding is it will come up soon. >> days or weeks? >> by the end of this month. >> thank you. i appreciate that. we will measure the progress in afghanistan, especially after we by one ofaged
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, women'seasures participation is extraordinary, as you know and as people in the audience know who have had some interaction with women in afghanistan directly. toad an opportunity in 2011 women,h parliamentarians, people involved in the political process. a father and a husband, were killed because of their political participation, and despite that harbor, she went forward and ran for office still and stayed involved. on the political and security front, it is important. but iunning low on time will submit a question for the for the southwest, $34 million building. asch i know has been raised
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a taxpayer issue and a concern about waste. i will submit one for the record about the pentagon's commitment on making sure there is no more money wasted on that structure. thank you very much. >> senator murphy. >> thank you. thank you for your focus on this issue. thank you to both of you for being here today. i recently returned from my fourth trip to afghanistan. i came back with three take -- takeaways. one, to agree in part with your assessment of our ability to stand up the afghan military that clearly made significant gains. they are able to fight on their own in many arts of the country. do not put them in the same boat as the status of the police are -- force.
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on the negative side, to connect one was a surprising of diversity of opinion on behalf of u.s. personnel there as to what will happen once we significantly draw down. second, the opinion that come from the taliban that they are winning the fight there today and they are optimistic about their ability to take a significant control of portions of the country once we leave. as i was there at the beginning, there was a lot of talk about this being a decisive moment in on the ground amongst the taliban and many afghans to billions -- civilians are doing very well. about the know so far
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spring fighting season? what do we know about the optimism of the taliban and? how has the military performed in a critical fighting season? what do we know so far? would want to comment on this as well. taking theforces are majority of casualties. in our judgment, they are holding up well. they are under significant pressure. the insurgents are making every effort to knock them off and undermine their self-confidence as they step out on the run. , ourrms of the taliban
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impression is there is a debate within the movement between those who see the military route as the only route forward and are confident of their ability have aail, and those who broader recognition of the changes that have taken place in the afghan society, the unwillingness to return to the conditions they were in a decade ago, and if the taliban were to win a military victory, the schools would close on the cell phone towers would close, rose -- rhodes would get potholed, they would be getting no assistance and would be recognized by no country in the world. even if they were successful militarily, they could not govern for any length of time. arguing theelement need to negotiate. we think they should negotiate. there are those who think they should do both. that is the kind of division we have seen so far.
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>> thank you. the afghan security forces are doing a good job and they are confident they can achieve their mission. they are taking a lot of cashel'tis. it is close to 400 kills in action every month. total between army and police. the insurgents are going after them. this poses a threat to their individual security. operationally, they performed very well. and secureue to hold the major population centers in afghanistan and key routes of communication. strategically, the mission continued to be successful. but you are right. there are a lot of questions about the future and whether you talk to americans or afghanistan's, there will be questions and uncertainties
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about what happens in the future. through an will go unprecedented election were karzai is not running. the outcome of this election is not clear to anyone. we are doing everything we can to ensure a fair and free and representative election. there is uncertainty. inthe security sector particular, where you have good thernance in the country, security problem tends to be easily manageable by the afghan army and police, where you have poor governance, where you have a district or provincial addressing the grievances and needs of the population, the security andlem is more pronounced more difficult for the army and the police. it gets to the point that the -- the entire committee is making an be here very loudly, that approve mints in the political transmission need to
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go hand-in-hand with the ongoing securitynts in the tradition. >> let me ask you a question about capabilities we will need to continue to lend to the afghan military with respect to the air capabilities of the afghan military. a very frustrating 10 years and to still see the status of the afghan air force, contemplating sending to them russian helicopters, that there are legitimate questions as to whether they can even operate. what kind a look at of support we will provide them in the long run, it seems hard to believe we will be able to walk away from providing them that it back support or close air support, as the ground forces clearly have made progress and are doing the majority of the fighting. walked away not completely understanding how we would have a long-term military commitment above ground. can you talk to us a little about that?
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you are right, with the terrain in afghanistan and the difficulty to access remote regions, air mobility is a critical aspect and the afghans recognize this. the minister of interior, they are looking to have their own inter-force capability. we are working with them to provide that capability. we have gone from the security transition that has taken place. performast, we would all these operations for the afghans and they would perform increasingly sophisticated ground operations. we are now moving in this transition phase where they are -- doing more of their operations themselves and we are trying to work with them so air will have a sustainable capability in the future. it is not clear to us how long it will take for them to develop that capability. training pilots is a laborious something wet is
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are prioritizing right now and getting them the equipment and helping them develop the means to maintain this equipment and -- in a sustainable manner. the indicated, administration is conducting regular assessments, including the air force. we will make the necessary adjustments to ensure they have this capability going forward. >> thank you. senator mccain. >> thank you. to our witnesses, i was in afghanistan last week with five others, seven other senators, and had robust discussions about the midcourt in -- midpoint in the fighting season and there was positive news in terms of our own military leadership's reckoning. more to tell. much of the discussion we had
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was about this troop number. we all recognize a troop number is not an end but a means to an end. what is the end we are trying to compare for? efficacy. we talked about that. there has been public testimony where i said, february, reprimanding -- recommending a true bubble of 13,600. eight and 12,000, i will not ask you about numbers but i will say what we heard from military leadership in afghanistan was not at odds with that general range. i realize one of the next witnesses phrased it better than i did hear it will just read a section and tell me whether or not you agree. two.mony is on page
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pressfortunate recent accounts of zero option are extremely damaging in this regard. the u.s. senate's allies need to be actively countering the inerrant abandonment heard in afghanistan. the best way to do this would be for the u.s. government to make clear its intention to have a robust troop presence in afghanistan and to announce the size even before negotiations have improved that will provide the leaguer -- legal framework. the u.s. government should be clear it is ready to negotiate with the current afghan government, or to leave that negotiation to the post-2014 government. the troop commitment needs to be made clearly and now and this will do three things. it will reassure afghans their votes in the 2014 elections will count for something because the government they elected will have the international support it will need to succeed.
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it will lessen the ability of some afghan elements to use the negotiations as a political football in the service of other agendas. do you best judgment, think the prompt announcement of the size of the security force, leaving the size of it for military and the ministration to determine would have the positive effects i ?eferenced >> let me say a couple of things. as best as i can determine, the wass about the zero option not intended. there was not a negotiating ploy. i agree the article was unhelpful on balance. the focus on this issue unhelpful. theve already addressed
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issue of the timing of a decision on troop levels. if you agree with steve that your views and those of former national security adviser hadley are important, and will certainly be taken under consideration. all, i take everything steve says very seriously. he is very thoughtful and even in this regard, as well, this deserves our fullest attention and we need to consider what he is saying. i look forward to his testimony afterwards. i think, right now, the afghans are not certain about their future. anything, any statement of commitment, of u.s. or international support, can mitigate some of that uncertainty. beneed to recognize it will
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there. afghanistan is going through a democratic transition. that unprecedented in country. similarly, in pakistan, the first ever civilian government to elected -- to be elected after another. everything we can to support that and provide confidence tomorrow will be better than today and yesterday. we are in negotiations with the afghan government on the bilateral security agreement, which will be the framework that will enable us to have a military presence going forward. beenegotiations have successful. we have come to agreement on many things. in parameters for that framework. there still are fundamental issues remaining. afghans are very good and shrewd negotiators. i think they will use all
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leverage possible in this negotiation. the one thing about not having made that announcement, even though it might have contributed to some of the uncertainty going forward in afghanistan, is that it is something president karzai needs to take seriously. they cannot take it for granted and a need to have a very fair and balanced bilateral security agreement. >> i would think there would be bipartisan agreement. if we cannot reach a bilateral security agreement, that is at the default zero option.
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>> several hours have made generalized commitments, including the germans to take the lead in providing the core of the force in the northern part of the country. several other allies have indicated their intention to stay. they would measure their actual level of and by ours in every case. >> i agree. we have had a principle an engagement -- engagement in afghanistan in together and out together. coalition, cohesion, is critical important. that'll be a factor going forth. >> great. thank you. >> thank you. very briefly because i want to get to our next panel, and asner, your title includes pakistan. while this hearing is about afghanistan, you cannot talk about afghanistan without looking at the realities of
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pakistan. one or twoout observations and ask you a question. the last time i was in this they have their own interests and own views. about our afghan strategy. regressionsrect from the stability in afghanistan. despite our generous assistance to pakistan, fraught with its own set of problems, i think we have not convince them we have shared goals and mutual interest in this regard. despite our generous assistance to pakistan, fraught with its own set of problems, i think we have not convince them we have shared goals and mutual interest in this regard. what, realistically, can we expect from pakistan vis-à-vis afghanistan and how is our own strategy informed by their calculations? as we inevitably see a reduction in these international troop resins, the
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insurgents will make a more forceful push to gain more december 2014. some would say the support of pakistan backers. the unitedteps states is taking so the pakistan military is loud -- allowed to hike it -- hijack a process to benefit its chosen afghan prophecies? what redlines are we drawing with pakistan to make clear we all all need to be working from the same page here? you were very concerned the insurgency has enjoyed its effective sanction -- sanctuary and drawn strength from that from their operations in afghanistan, we recognize
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the terrorist groups within afghanistan operating against pakistan are closely linked to those operating in afghanistan. we keep stressing to the government of afghanistan they cannot distinguish between benign insurgents and benign militello's and the line -- militants. it is going to destabilize their country in the end, as well as that of their neighbors. that recognition is beginning to sink in. you have opened up a large issue that probably requires more discussion than we can do here. an opportunity with a new civilian government with a new mandate -- >> are you suggesting to give me a full answer, you need a classified session? >> that was not my intention.
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probably yes. >> i have time. to yourdy to listen full answer on pakistan. with aee an opportunity clear mandate, a majority in parliament. they are grappling with their own security internal problem, some ways more acute than that in afghanistan. i do not know what the actual statistics are with civilian casualties but they are probably high in pakistan. they are also conducting significant military operations against militants. not against the militants operating in afghanistan but the ones operating in pakistan. they have a substantial portion of their military now committed to the operations in these
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border areas. this is a continued area of dialogue. they have become more cooperative and more helpful on the issue of reconciliation. he suggested that was the intention of hijacking the process. i think they would like to influence the process. in any to be assumed case. do not think there is much likelihood they would hijack it. we do not have any intention of allowing that to occur. your concerns about pakistan are understandable. they are concerns we have and
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discussed internally all the time. they are concerns we address with the government of pakistan. i am hopeful the secretary of state will be able to visit pakistan's noon. i have been there twice. i dressed many of these issues. -- i dressed many of these issues. -- i addressedd many of these issues. >> can you assure the committee work to ensure the programs like the justice sector support program and the corrections systems report program will have adequate oversight of valuation mechanisms? >> yes. >> can you assure the committee
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they are pouring more money into the narcotics leads in afghanistan, which has a series of -- >> yes. >> those are the most succinct answers i have gotten in a long time. thank you for your testimony and we look forward to continuing to engage you. let me call up my next panel. our second panel, a distinguished roster of private witnesses. national bush is .ecurity advisor i am pushing for credible afghan elections in 2014. the carnegie endowment for international peace, she previously lived and worked as a and advising military officials on afghan corruption in pakistan, and mr.
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nondairy wears many hats. andpreciate he just arrived i want to thank him to supply views. with that, we will include all of your testimony into the record. we ask our witnesses who are leaving that they engage the press outside so we can continue with the hearing. your full statements will be entered into the record. and mr. hadley, we will start with you. >> thank you. members of the committee, i want to express my appreciation for the opportunity to offer my views.
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express are my own and do not represent those of the united states institute of peace, which does not take policy positions. ,s my recent involvement convened in 2000 11 and 12 by u.s. ip and the center for american progress. our senior working group concluded the u.s. government's objective in afghanistan should be a relatively stable afghanistan that does not slide back into civil war, destabilize its neighbors, or once again become a haven for transnational terrorist. and prosperity for afghanistan is at stake. element tosential achieving stability, peace, and .rosperity
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a stable,t be prosperous region free from care unless these can be achieved in afghanistan. the problems associated with achieving stability in afghanistan have been exacerbated by the general strategies among afghans and their neighbors partly the result of uncertainty regarding the extent to which the u.s. is committed to afghanistan post- 2014. that is why i am very much in sympathy with senator cain and the portion he read from this that we canimony solve this problem that we can you clear soon in afghanistan with a specific and significant number of troops, adequate to do the missions we need to perform. the workmates to get out probably. as we have talked about earlier in this discussion. , full responsibility
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for security and all of afghan districts was handed over. has become one of the most trusted institutions in the country. now, we will have an opportunity to prove its worth to the afghan people. the crucial question for the security transition is not about cactus -- tactics or firepower but whether these forces are united around the idea that they are national forest expanding a legitimate government, supported by all elements of afghan society. at this point, the political transition is the most critical of the three transitions that will occur in 2014. while the security transition is well underway and good progress has been made, it cannot succeed unless the 2014 elections are relatively free and fair and produce a government viewed as legitimate
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and supported by the afghan people and accepted by afghans neighbors and the international community. if, instead, 2014 produces a corrupt and tainted election, discredited in the eyes of the afghan people, and causing either the chaos of no coherent government, or one viewed as illegitimate by the afghan people, then we will be transitioning security rabat -- responsibility to a government in a political meltdown, one unlikely to be able to command the support of the afghan national army, and the other security forces. at that point, the force could splinter along, contributing to instability and national fragmentation, violence, and perhaps a return to civil war. the question is how can this legitimate role -- legitimate and open freeout?
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and fair election with broad afghans participation offers the best opportunity to reconcile the whole of afghan society, which currently feels largely excluded from the political process. as part of an inclusive he's process, the u.s. and afghan governments have tried to distinguish those who with -- wish to reenter the process from those who wish to continue there society.ar on afghan efforts today have failed but the taliban refusing to participate in talks with the afghan government and now imposing their office. while outreach to the taliban should continue in a very careful way during the pre- election time, the best time to test taliban intentions would be after the conclusion of a successful election by a government of renewed and popularhe
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support, backed by an army loyal to the government and supported by significant posts 2014 u.s. and coalition presence. , efforts should be focused on ensuring a successful election, which includes efforts to convince the taliban to reduce violence, and during election time, and agreed to local cease-fires. the pakistani government should be listed in this effort and there should be a robust communication plan of time rarely afghan voices to make clear those who seek to derail the election through fraud or violence are the true enemies of a peaceful future for the afghan people. , the best prospect for achieving a stable afghanistan will be a peaceful transition to a new government based on a free and fair presidential election at -- election and produce an outcome for a successful afghan people.
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this outcome must be the u.s. government's top priority in afghanistan for the coming year. thank you. >> thank you. >> i will go in the order we were sitting. thank you very much. thank you for the opportunity to discuss conditions in afghanistan. just to remind you of my perspective, about eight years in downtown, and then serving for the chairman of the joint chiefs. they got used to that, most of them. the security situation and, related to that, the size of a residual u.s. force on the 2014 election thomas and, though it has not been apparent, negotiations with the taliban. oneach case, eyes are fixed the formal process, while the real meaning lies beneath that. what is missing is the political strategy within which
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the formalities might add up to something. i think that strategy must include a more broad-based reconciliation process fan could set the stage for credible elections and a new approach to pakistan. on elections, i would like to you, mr.erything chairman, said. sadly, what really matters in afghan elections today is not vote, the ability to mobilize them, but who controls the process. the head of the election commission has dragged on for too long. that is the big issue. also, as i have mentioned here previously, u.s. payments to the key political actor also matter. here is my recommendation. going u.s. government is
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to lend to the moral authority of this country to the 2014 elections, then words like credible have to mean something. supports for the vote must be contingent on standards, for example, and empowered elections commission whose members are not appointed by the president. if mr. karzai wants to run an election he could control, ok, but not on the u.s. dime and not on the democratic reputation of the united states. i am not sure another ambassador would change the dynamics, necessarily. it did not in 2009. on security, again, a lot of talk has been devoted to the afghan national security forces capabilities. there have been real competitions. according to officials, at more than 40 cashel tees per 10,000 service members per month, which would be approximately a total of 1200 killed and wounded
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per month, higher than today's. the technical skills of afghan soldiers are beside the point. , the best army, it is only a tool in the hands of the government. you can exercise it, take the arm to the gym and do exercises, lift some weights. if the body to which the arm is attached is nonviable, it will not be able to defend much. that is the suspect -- a substance that getting missed. on that, measures lack. violentpped supporting statistics in march. we are left with anecdotes. pakistan are being sent into the fight in large numbers this year. the taliban are attacking in larger groups than they have in years. ,here have been improvements which is my own experience. afghan colleagues can visit areas.
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the current police chief is keeping the taliban at bay. -- inh a cost in after it extra judicial killing that he is turning them against them. this is to be expected. i want general petraeus about this man's style and the amendment issues it raises. es.een festival - the usefulness in that context of any assessment of current security trends for producing -- predicting outcome is questionable. as for residual u.s. troops, i 10,000 would make much more of an impact on security and stability in
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afghanistan than zero. my reading of signals in this town is that zero is a pretty likely that. to be honest, in the absence of a policy framework within which the commitment and sacrifice would make sense, i am finding it difficult to argue with that. without leaving a black hole behind, how to get 20 .esponsibly honoring the losses here is my recommendation. do not look to security structuralist -- structures. the way to wind down u.s. involvement in afghanistan without the plays unraveling is not the focus on military technicalities, but to take a different approach to the political context. was never the right approach for a couple reasons. the involvement with taliban leadership may be complex, but it is effective.
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raisedranking member earlier. it is likely they started reconstituting the taliban in late 2002. . watched them do that they presumed insurgency would and negotiations and wanted to drive us there and control the outcome. they choose who goes and what they settle for. ironically, we have been practically begging pakistani officials to play that role. we would not be negotiating autonomous represented us. we would be talking to the isi by proxy. that carries a couple implications. it means we are effectively rewarding pakistan for the use as anlent proxies implement of national policy. the terms of any deal would likely be unacceptable to most afghans because they entail surrendering too much sovereignty. it is not just the taliban.
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the others did not take up arms. those afghans have no seat. the nonviolentg opposition in our rush to placate the violent opposition. this approach does not line up with our values as a nation and it is almost guaranteed not to work but to lead to the next war. here is my recommendation, two prong. with respect to afghan reconciliation, make it more inclusive, like what the french tested late last year. , raisespect to pakistan the cost of using violent proxy as an instrument of policy. do not act as agents to help organize intra-afghan. second, open a proper state to take -- state to state channel so it can address its legitimate concerns and aspirations.
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change in our political approach can offer a way to conclude military involvement in -- in afghanistan without leaving the region more dangerous than we founded in in 2001. thank you. -- found it in 2001. thank you. >> thank you very much for the opportunity to speak before this committee. at a very critical time of our history. about the issues today. political transition, the talks, and the talks with taliban, and the ongoing security transition. i will also outline what is rarely reported in the media. it is at a turning point. newly found confidence in our state and forces. whenever i see the young women and men in uniform, i feel proud. there are threats and
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fears. many have their confidence shaken by the recent events which helped legitimize terrorist groups. the news this week that president obama also shook confidence. we understand your frustration. partners arereal the afghan people. we willthan a year, have a new president. a year later, a new parliament. at this moment, it would be a great mistake to sacrifice our achievements over a bad deal. have, life for most changed for the better.
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democratic freedom, women's right, they have presented some of the greatest achievements of international engagement. we have got 8 million children in schools. population with real opportunities for upward mobility, and with our security ,orces growing and strength they have exceeded our expectations. that is why it is vital to get the political transition right. calling foron post free and fair and transparent elections. there are huge challenges. we believe it can make a real difference. first, president karzai needs to approve and appoint the chair of the elections commission. the use of a level playing
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field. really, the highest level of u.s. government for our political transition. as a sideline, the very critical issue of bilateral security agreement. it played into the hands of pakistan. they show little signs of being able to negotiate or respect our [indiscernible] they have become more extreme in their deliberate attacks. i read through so i know how brutal they are. if we focus on political transition, with a new government, a fresh mandate,
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backed by a bilateral agreement, we can create incentive. for them to rethink their more conducive and inclusive teepees. couragend strength and has been demonstrated by the speed with which they have clothes -- closed down clinical attacks with minimal loss of life. we still face challenges. our forces are already missing and enabling stored. -- support. ,hile our people want to serve it will take more time. andnical knowledge, military intelligence, is growing and slowly. our brave forces are not yet supported.
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we know our forces are fighting bravely. being wounded by the sense of their own country. a bilateral security agreement to boost confidence, filling commitment to the afghan air force and maintain air support until our air force can take full responsibility. the film commitments for financial support for continual development of their institutional strength. the u.s. fored to all you have done for our country. we know it is a burden. for but we are so point.o a turning
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we can become an ally in the region. i look forward to your questions. thank you for your continued engagement and interest in my country and for giving us point. this opportunity to speak. thank you. >> thank you for your testimony. we have a universal agreement these elections are important. if you had the power, to say, this is what the united states should be doing right now to ensure the most honest transparent and fair elections possible, what would your answer be a -- be? >> put pressure on president karzai and to encourage all aspects put pressure on karzai and the parliament to get this legislation enacted and to get the people appointed. we have to make it
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clear this election is a top priority. a lot of afghans thought reconciliation with the taliban was our top priority. this should be our top priority and it is. we have not made that clear. there, i would agree, the election needs to be part of a broad-based reconciliation they largely feel alienated. that is what the selection can do. it will empower the afghan government. at that point, after the government -- after the elections, an empowered government supported by its people having international support backing up an army that is willing to fight for that government and then you can have about thoseation were willing to come out of the fight and give up the violence and let the afghan army deal with

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